Water, water, everywhere……
There is water, everywhere (well maybe not in California). But it is plentiful for us in the North west. Plenty for play, to wash and most importantly to drink.
By weight the human body is about 75% water. The brain and heart are 73% water, and the lungs 83%. Water, water, everywhere.
We tend to think of dehydration as the guy crawling along in the blazing desert, looking for an oasis with a pool of water, but being dehydrated can be, (and frequently is,) much less dramatic than that. Dehydration is simply taking in less water than our body needs for normal use. Water not only makes up much of the tissue in our bodies, it is used to help regulate our body temperature, moves waste from the body, lubricates our joints, makes up a good portion of our blood, and participates in many, many other vital chemical functions that keep us alive.
When dehydration occurs, there are many symptoms that can occur. Mild dehydration can cause dark urine, a dry mouth, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches or being light-headed. Severe dehydration can lead to sunken eyes, dry skin, decreased blood pressure and increased heart rate, and left unchecked, coma.
So why the concern with the feet? First of all, the feet are connected to the rest of the body therefore suffer a similar fate. The primary conditions seen with dehydration, directly related to the feet and legs, are muscle weakness and more frequently muscle cramps. Muscle cramps are often vague in cause and difficult, at best, to control. We sometimes, simply cannot find a source for them. However, the easiest thing to try and very commonly results in reduction or solving leg and foot cramps (particularly those at night) is to increase your water intake. Muscles in dehydration can cramp, rehydration is easy and may be of great benefit.
So, how much water do we need to drink every day? That is a tricky. It can vary from person to person. If we consider that the percentage of water we consist of is by body weight, a larger person will likely need more than a smaller person. Obviously, there are times and circumstances, like hot weather or a heavy work out, when increased amounts will be needed by anyone. A rule of thumb that has been around for some time is 8-8oz glasses (64 ounces) of water per day as the minimum. That is probably a reasonable “guess” but again it does not address the fact that people are of different sizes. Another guideline is divide your weight in ½ and drink that many ounces of water in a day. For instance, if you weight 200# drink 100 ounces of water, 150#, drink 75 ounces. Personally, I think that is a little over kill, the correct amount for proper body function is probably somewhere between the two.
So: Water, water everywhere…. so go drink some.
K.G. Gauntt, D.P.M.