Summer Hydration and Bone Health
Summer Hydration and Bone Health
Everybody needs water to live. In fact, it is among the first and most important things your body needs to function. There is simply no system, organ, or body part that does not need to be hydrated in order to function. Even your bones need adequate hydration to stay healthy. And proper hydration can be a particularly critical issue in the summer when hot days and outdoor activities make it difficult to replace what we lose from exercise and sweat.
Why we need water
Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. It regulates our body temperature, makes waste elimination possible, and keeps your entire body lubricated. The water we drink helps cushion our joints and even helps us process and absorb nutrients from food.
Water and healthy bones
Though we don’t usually associate hydration with bones, dehydration can lead to osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Water brings calcium and other nutrients throughout the body, including to your bones. Even if you eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, those nutrients cannot make it to your bones without water. In fact, if you don’t drink enough water, the calcium you eat may end up producing kidney stones, which are deposits mostly made up of calcium that haven’t been able to be processed correctly by the body.
Healthy bone function too
The amount of water you consume affects how well your bones can do their job, including producing red blood cells in the bone marrow. Your bones also produce new cells constantly to replace the ones we lose as we age. These new cells are strengthened with minerals stored within the bone structure.
Without water to transport minerals and allow cells to function properly, you may experience bone loss and eventually osteoporosis. Since water also helps rid the body of toxins, these substances can and do build up in the bones, leading to inflammation and a breakdown in bone mass.
Lubrication and joint health
Proper hydration helps keep your joints lubricated, which prevents cartilages from grinding against each other and reduces wear and tear on the body. Lubrication also helps to prevent injuries by providing a cushion to absorb the shock of sudden movements.
How much is enough water
Hot weather, your activity level, and your weight help determine how much water is needed for you to stay hydrated. If you don’t already, get in the habit of having at least one glass of water with each meal, plus additional glasses throughout the day as feelings of thirst arise. Pay attention to your body for cues that you need to drink more. While eight glasses a day is a general rule of thumb, the reality is that your body may require more depending on your own body processes.
Watch for dehydration symptoms including dry mouth and eyes, headache, constipation, and dark or decreased amount of urine. Muscle cramps can also be a sign of dehydration.
While staying hydrated isn’t a guarantee of orthopaedic health, it is one simple step that can go a long way toward reducing orthopedic problems as you get older.
If you have been experiencing dehydration symptoms and are concerned it may impact your bone health, your next step may be talking with a specialist about your specific situation. Our Bone Health Specialist at DOC can evaluate your family history and other risk factors like hormonal disorders, long-term use of corticosteroid or other medications, and weight, which can all affect bone health. Rebecca Stephenson – CRNP, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner with DOC heads up the Bone Health Program, providing education, screening and treatment for those at high risk of bone fractures.
If you feel you are at risk and would like to be evaluated, please call our office at 256-350-0362 for an appointment.