In my last column, I discussed brain health and ways to keep the brain healthy. One of the most overlooked ways is hydration. It is also one of the easiest things to do! Our bodies are made up of two-thirds water and our brains 77-78 percent water. When we take in less water than we lose, we become dehydrated.
The aging population is especially susceptible to dehydration. In fact dehydration is one of the 10 most frequent diagnoses reported for hospitalizations of persons over 65 in the United States. Reasons for the high incidence of dehydration vary.
As we age, our kidneys are less efficient at concentrating urine in order to store water during times of dehydration. Also, as we age we experience decreased thirst sensation causing us to drink less. Add decreased mobility and the desire to not be interrupted to urinate frequently and it is a set-up for chronic dehydration. Those taking diuretics, such as Lasix (Furosemide), to control congestive heart failure or fluid retention are at risk for dehydration when not balancing fluid intake.