Am I dehydrated?
“This is a common question we hear from many people around the community,” said Amy Schuckman, a registered nurse and administrator for the Dodge City-based Angels Care Home Health. It is of heightened importance in light of spell of hot weather.
Although Angels Care works with seniors who are at increased risk of heat-related problems, Schuckman said anyone is susceptible to the threats heat pose.
“The best defense against dehydration is prevention, but understanding the symptoms is the key factor in protecting you against dehydration,” she said. Angels Care Home Health, serving Great Bend and the surrounding areas, has offered ways to “beat the heat” and other prevention tips.
What does hydration mean?
The hydration status of a person refers to their body water balance, she said. Dehydration occurs when people don’t have enough fluid in their bodies.
“Many older people have problems with dehydration,” she said. Dehydration is a serious problem and can result in death if it is not taken care of, but dehydration is very easy to prevent.
Physical changes that affect hydration
The ability to feel thirst lessens with age so seniors may not realize when they need to drink more, Schuckman said. Seniors may find they have to use the bathroom more often so they are losing more fluid.
In the aging process, people’s bodies start losing muscle and gaining fat. Muscle holds water but fat does not, so as a person ages their body water decreases. Medications that increase urination or help constipation can also cause dehydration.
“Most seniors are unprepared for the health implications of summer, specifically the changes that can occur from dehydration,” she said.
Contact the Angels Care in Dodge City at 620-225-5400 or visit the webpage angelscarehealth.com for other summer health tips.