Hydration in seniors: Maintaining daily well-being to live better
Hydration in seniors, how to maximize their well-being with age?
With increasing age, many factors promote dehydration, it is also one of the first metabolic disorders encountered in retirement homes and nursing homes. It can have disastrous consequences and is one of the top 10 causes of hospitalization in the elderly, which in some cases can lead to death.
The 2003 heat wave is an example of the seriousness of this phenomenon: more than 15,000 deaths among the elderly due to the heat wave in France, it is therefore important to know how to recognize the clinical and biological signs of dehydration in the elderly and how to overcome this problem.
The importance of hydration for health
The human body is made up of approximately 60% water, i.e. 60% of our body mass is represented by water molecules. This is essential for the proper functioning of the body: the maintenance of several essential functions such as: Functioning of the brain, regulation of body temperature (thermoregulation), digestion, intestinal transit, maintenance of healthy skin and the proper functioning of the joints, the production of bodily fluids, such as tears and saliva, the elimination of waste and toxins and finally the maintenance of immune functions.
As you will have understood, good hydration is essential to stay healthy.
This is all the more evident when we see that the consequences of dehydration which lead to many symptoms of dehydration on our well-being; headaches, brain and muscle fatigue, irritability... In addition, dehydration slows down the metabolism and the immune system, hence the importance of maintaining a good level of hydration on a daily basis.
Why do hydration needs increase with age?
Physiological changes with age
Physiological changes occur during aging and one of the first consequences is the decrease in water reserves, it is found that with age, the body loses about 15% of its water content. We therefore have fewer reserves to fight against dehydration. Paradoxically, we tend to hydrate less with increasing age, which can be explained by:
The gradual loss of the feeling of thirst over the years, which sometimes goes as far as disgust for water, inevitably leads to dehydration.
Natural cognitive declines (neurological disorders, immobilization syndrome) make access to drinks more complicated.
Kidney function is increasingly reduced (up to kidney failure) which induces incontinence problems because the kidneys lose their ability to concentrate urine and retain water. The consequence is that despite the decrease in water mass in the elderly subject and his water intake, the urine will eliminate just as much water as when he had higher water intake.
The fear of drinking : problems of incontinence or false roads frequently encountered with age also lead some elderly people to drink less to avoid these inconveniences.
What are the pathologies and situations that can promote dehydration?
In the first position we find digestive losses : episodes of diarrhea and vomiting are pathologies of which one of the first consequences is dehydration. This must be remedied quickly, as the loss of water and electrolytes can be substantial. In addition, the loss of minerals (electrolytes) makes it difficult to absorb water. In these situations of electrolyte deficit, rehydration solutions (ORS) are recommended in order to facilitate the assimilation of liquids. Hydratis 50+ is recommended for people over 50 during a period of dehydration.
Cutaneous losses : an insidious cause of dehydration occurring most frequently during extreme heat (heat waves) in the elderly. Indeed during heat waves, profuse sweating and heatstroke are more frequent, they also lead to large water losses.
In these two situations, it is necessary to intervene quickly because severe dehydration can occur in a few hours, especially in this fragile population (seniors and infants).
Drugs that promote dehydration: the diuretic effect of drugs
The last factor to consider when it comes to dehydration in the elderly is that of medication. Indeed, it is a population that is often poly-medicated and certain active ingredients have a mechanism of action that can aggravate dehydration.
These drugs include:
· Medicines against high blood pressure such as diuretics , and ACE inhibitors often prescribed in seniors.
Medicines that can disrupt the functioning of the kidneys : NSAIDs, Aspirin, IEC, antibiotics from the sulfonamide family, etc.
· Medications that interfere with the mechanisms of thermoregulation and perspiration .
Medications that can cause hyperthermia : neuroleptics, migraine medications, etc.
Please note, if you have any questions about the diuretic properties of certain medications, ask your doctor for advice.
How do you make sure you are well hydrated?
As you will have understood, over time we can no longer rely on thirst as the first sign of dehydration, but there are simple parameters to monitor in order to ensure that we are well hydrated.
The simplest and most reliable parameter to check is the color of the urine: the darker the urine, the less diluted it is and this is a sign of dehydration.
It is also advisable to know the signs of moderate dehydration, easy to correct in order to remedy it as quickly as possible and that it does not worsen. These signs are:
Weight loss of less than 10% of body weight
Dry mucous membranes
A sunken fontanel
Dark circles around the eyes.
How to promote hydration with age: Tips
Consume water-rich foods
We tend to forget that food largely contributes to our hydration, but with a varied and balanced diet, the food we eat can provide us with up to one liter of water per day. Consuming water-rich foods, especially during periods of high heat, is a way to reduce the risk of dehydration.
Among the foods richest in water are first of all fruits and vegetables such as: tomatoes, lettuces, cucumbers, zucchini, apples, watermelons and melons... The list is long and many recipes can be done to boost hydration!
Meat also contains a lot of water provided it is fresh or raw because the heat causes it to evaporate. For example, fresh chicken and raw meats contain between 60 and 65% water.
Consume hydrating beverages
It is recommended to drink about 1.5 liters of water per day, but clear water is a quickly boring drink. To reach the daily goal, you can consume different types of drinks such as herbal teas, fresh homemade fruit juices, smoothies, vegetable broths. Skimmed milk is also a good alternative as a hydrating drink.
Warning : it is better to avoid alcohol, teas, coffee, sodas and other sugary drinks: these drinks have diuretic or indirectly dehydrating effects. Replacing tea and coffee with an infusion is a trick to reduce consumption.
Hydratis 50+ rehydration solution
For effective and tasty rehydration throughout the day, it is possible to consume isotonic drinks: their composition of mineral salts and electrolytes promotes the assimilation of water. Hydration is therefore more effective than with conventional drinks
Hydratis 50+ is the first rehydration solution for seniors in prevention or during proven dehydration. It allows a faster assimilation of liquids and adapted to the physiological constraints of the elderly. It also helps you support your metabolism, nervous system support, promotes muscle recovery, supports the immune system, antioxidant, reduces physical and cerebral fatigue, helps aid digestion.
The elderly person is a subject particularly vulnerable to dehydration due to the physiological changes induced by age.
But the physiological variations due to age can have other equally serious consequences: indeed, with age many people suffer from swallowing disorders resulting in false routes. These are not to be taken lightly because the obstruction of the airways induced is an emergency requiring rapid and precise first aid gestures. To learn more, do not hesitate to consult our article on false roads.