When you’ve been around the sun a good few times and you’re of a certain age, there are lots of awesome things that come with that privilege – wisdom, a big old family tree and possible ‘silver fox’ status. One thing about getting older that you might not realise and is not THAT awesome, is that you’ll be more prone to dehydration.
As we age, we begin to experience the mystery of the disappearing muscle mass1, 2. Along with allowing our bodies to move and interact with the world around us, our muscles also serve a vital job storing the water we need to be healthy. This water in skeletal muscle tissue can be found in intracellular stores. As skeletal muscle mass diminishes, it becomes more difficult to store enough of that vital water and we need to hydrate more often3 — even if we don’t feel thirsty.
Just not thirsty?
It’s not just you. As we get older our bodies begin to experience a decreased sense of thirst, which means we may not consume the liquids we need each day or even occasionally forget to drink altogether. And here’s the kicker. Because you don’t feel as thirsty when you’re older, when you eventually do feel like drinking, dehydration may have already begun4.
Dehydration by medication
Hands up if you’re taking some form of medication? Did you know that certain medications, such as diuretics and laxatives can lead to dehydration? It’s a good idea to ask your health professional whether any medications that you might be taking have a diuretic effect which could increase your thirst or increase urination4.
Tea? Coffee? Dehydration?
A nice cup of hot tea or coffee won’t actually cause dehydration and can count towards your daily fluid intake, however be warned! The caffeine in both beverages acts as a mild diuretic, which means that it causes your kidneys to flush extra sodium and water from the body through urine5,6.
Heat stress risk
And speaking of hot, as you get older, you can be more prone to heat stress. This can occur when the body can’t cool itself and maintain a healthy temperature. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn’t enough and the body temperature keeps rising. If you experience any of the classic signs of dehydration due to heat such as increased thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output or dark yellow urine, it’s time to rehydrate7.
Time to rehydrate
As soon as you finish reading this, go have a refreshing glass of water. Even if you’re not parched, it’s best to get into the habit of sipping fluids. And what better time to start a healthy habit than right now. And if you think you may be dehydrated, you can always pour in a sachet of Hydralyte Electrolyte Powder or reach for a bottle of Hydralyte Ready to Use Electrolyte Solutions to get the water and electrolytes working for you again. Now that’s some wisdom right there.