Water balance refers to the equilibrium between fluid intake and liquid excretion. The body must maintain it within specific ranges to ensure good health. Furthermore, it depends on several factors such as temperature, mineral salt intake, and humidity.
A failure to balance this equation can lead to serious consequences, such as dehydration. This situation can prove fatal in many cases, especially in older people.
Thus, everyone must know the proper hydration guidelines as well as the symptoms present when something in the body isn’t quite right.
Water intake to maintain balance
The best way to maintain yourself hydrated is to drink water. People favor juices and soft drinks in lieu of it these days though. This is because they don’t realize that the capacity of these products to hydrate the body is quite limited. In fact, the intake of overly sugary soft drinks in large quantities leads to a greater risk of water balance breakdown processes.
Alcohol is another drink that plays an important role in dehydration. It’s mainly because this substance has diuretic power, as stated in an article published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
As you can imagine, it’s not a good idea to drink alcoholic beverages after exercising, as the replacement of liquids is crucial for the body at that moment.
Beware of high temperatures
High temperatures are another risk factor when it comes to water balance problems. In turn, high ambient humidity can also influence this process. For this reason, you must remain hydrated during summer, especially if you’re older. This is because you’re more susceptible to dehydration.
Specialists advise taking small sips of cold water every few minutes. Mainly because cool drinks have a faster gastric emptying rate than hotter ones. Hence, your body can quickly assimilate them and hydrate.
Mineral salts influence water balance
The intake of mineral salts, such as sodium, can also improve water balance. Therefore, drinking large amounts of them can increase fluid retention. Keep in mind that under-salting meals in high ambient temperatures could increase the risk of hyponatremia.
This condition is due to the excessive loss of sodium through sweating. It’s a condition that can be dangerous and fatal, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Symptoms of dehydration
There are a series of warning symptoms you must pay attention to:
- Excessive fatigue
- A sensation of heat but an absence of sweating
Keep an eye on your water balance for better health
Often, we emphasize food, not beverages, when talking about a healthy diet. However, maintaining the right water balance is crucial to your health. Furthermore, preventing dehydration deters the onset of serious conditions that could be fatal.
Besides, this risk increases during the summer season in high and humid temperatures. Cases of dehydration are even more frequent and serious in those who are older or younger.
You must drink plenty of fluids in order to prevent it — stay away from any sugary drinks. Instead, opt for slightly cool drinks, as the gastric emptying time is shorter and they promote faster hydration.
Finally, it’s important to eat fruit often. Its water content is high and regular intake improves hydration values.
Keep in mind that you must keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. This substance has diuretic properties and increases the volume of urine you excrete. Thus, there’s a higher risk of disturbing the water balance and subsequent dehydration.