Adults who stay well-hydrated appear to be healthier, develop fewer chronic conditions, such as heart and lung disease, and live longer than those who may not get sufficient fluids, according to a National Institutes of Health study published in ‘eBioMedicine’. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that well-hydrated adults appear to develop fewer chronic health conditions (heart diseases, lung disease, etc.), have a decreased risk of dying early, and are generally healthier. Hydration and aging are very closely linked to each other.
Dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluids than the amount taken in, resulting in the body not having enough fluids to work properly. Dehydration can cause the body to overheat, unclear thinking, mood changes, constipation, and even kidney stones.
As we age, we have natural drops in thirst levels and changes in body composition that increases the risk of dehydration. Furthermore, older adults are also more likely to take medications, like diuretics, that cause fluid loss in the body.
Even mild dehydration – as little as 2% fluid loss – can affect memory, mood, concentration, and reaction time. Adding just a few glasses of water to your daily intake can have a positive effect on cognition, stabilise your emotions, and even combat feelings of anxiety. This is especially important for older adults who are at higher risk for both dehydration and impaired cognitive function.
The results of the NIH study found that adults on the higher end of normal level of serum sodium had a 10 to 15 percent greater chance of being biologically older than their chronological age, when compared with participants in the mid-normal range. Additionally, participants at greater risk of aging more quickly also had a 64 percent higher risk for developing chronic diseases such as stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, chronic lung disease, peripheral artery disease, dementia, and diabetes.
Hydration and aging- how are they related?
Without enough water, a person may experience irregular bowel movements, gas, bloating, heartburn, and other discomforts that can hurt your quality of life. Upping your fluid intake may help get things moving in the right direction again. It aids in breaking down soluble fibre from your diet to keep your digestion process on track.
Dehydration can slow down circulation and affect the flow of oxygen to the brain. A lack of fluids can also cause your heart to work harder to pump oxygen all throughout your body. All of that expended energy can make you feel tired, sluggish, and less focused. Simply by drinking more water, you’ll prevent dehydration and have more pep to get you through the day.
Since it provides a sense of fullness, water can help feel satisfied in between meals—instead of heading to the snack cupboard. It can also help boost metabolism. One study of women with excess weight found that drinking additional glasses of water before each meal resulted in substantial reductions in body weight, body mass index and body composition. According to another 2016 study, adults who upped their water intake by just 1% consumed fewer calories. They also reduced their overall intake of sugar, cholesterol, sodium, and saturated fat.
Staying hydrated helps the joints stay well-lubricated, which helps reduce friction by creating more of a “cushion” between the bones. Less friction means smoother-moving joints and fewer aches and pains in your knees, ankles, hips, and other joints. Hydration helps in healthy aging as joint problems are one of the most predominant issues in old age.
Research shows that when you’re dehydrated, your body stores more heat. This, in turn, lowers your ability to tolerate hot temperatures. Drinking plenty of water helps you produce sweat when you’re overheated during activity, which in turn cools your body down. This built-in cooling system is critical in preventing heat stroke and other potentially deadly heat-related conditions.
Kidney stones are clumps of mineral crystals that form in the urinary tract. If you’ve ever experienced one, you know how painful they can be. Consuming adequate amounts of water each day can help dilute the concentration of minerals in your urinary tract and makes stones less likely. Water also helps flush harmful bacteria from your bladder and can aid in preventing urinary tract infections.
Your blood is made up largely of water. When you don’t drink enough glasses of water, it becomes concentrated, which can cause an imbalance of vital minerals (electrolytes). These minerals, like potassium and sodium, are key to the proper functioning of your heart.