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Why gOOD Hydrationis increasingly important As we age

As we age, our metabolic rate decreases. As our metabolic rate slows down, all organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, and kidney, also slow down. This is part of the natural/physiological changes associated with ageing. The Impact of Dehydration on Aging MetabolismEven mild dehydration slows our metabolic rate and our organ's function even more, in addition to the age-related changes, and usually, the older we are, the more adversely it can affect physical and mental performance and increase feelings of tiredness. Functions usually affected by dehydration include memory, attention, concentration, and reaction time.Common Complications from DehydrationCommon complications associated with dehydration also include low blood pressure, weakness, dizziness, and an increased risk of falls. This is often because dehydration also puts us at higher risk when we need to take medication(s). While ageing, our metabolism slows down naturally; when dehydrated, our metabolism slows down even more. We know that the drug journey is affected by ageing and, on top of that, dehydration. Kidneys and the liver contribute mainly to metabolising and eliminating the medicines (drugs) from the body. Our kidneys and liver may not work efficiently when we age, and we are dehydrated.

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The Impact of Dehydration While Taking Medication When age-related changes AND dehydration slow down our liver and kidney function, this practically means that medicines (drugs) we take stay in our organism for longer than necessary (due to slow metabolism). Therefore, we are at higher risk of drug-to-drug interaction and side effects of the drugs we take. When this happens, it might increase the toxicity, which might also cause the brain to slow down in functioning, and then all other organs slow down even more. Due to this, we will feel sedated, dizzy, wobbly, and potentially nauseous (this might prevent us from drinking and eating, too), and we are at a much higher risk of falls and fall-related injuries. Cognitive and Emotional Effects of Dehydration and Drug RetentionOur attention span might decrease as well, which then affects our memory, and with the drugs lingering in our body for longer, we may also experience mood swings and or sleeplessness, and if long-term dehydration, possibly also depression and or symptoms mimicking early onset of dementia. Hydration and Physical ActivityBy hydrating well with 6-8 cups of liquids, ideally water, we may slightly increase our metabolic rate, support our organs, and prevent steep slowing down of functions in organs that we need to work as optimally as possible to keep well throughout our lifespan and especially when over 65 years of age, we might be able to prevent side effects and drug interactions when we need to take some. Another way to slightly increase the metabolism is regular physical activity.

FIVE TIPS ON KEEPING HYDRATED

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Prioritise Water Intake Aim for six to eight glasses of water daily. Keep a water bottle handy to ensure you’re sipping throughout the day.

Consume Water-Rich Fruits and VegetablesFavour fruits and vegetables, including watermelons, cucumbers, and strawberries, as those have a particularly high-water content.

Monitor Fluid LossBe aware of your hydration needs, especially in hot weather or when exercising, by checking your urine colour; pale yellow is ideal.

Moderate Caffeine and AlcoholNeither is ideal for hydration and can also interact with the medication you might be taking, so if you consume them, increase your water intake.

Stay Active with Gentle Exercise Regular, even gentle physical activities can enhance your basic metabolism, improving the way your body works and optimising the function of all your organs.