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Adequate drinking protects against excessive fluid loss
Water is vital for the human body. If we take in too little of it, the metabolism is disturbed and our physical and mental performance decreases. We lose about two liters of fluid per day even without exercise, and sweating can quickly increase to three liters. Accordingly, sufficient drinking is particularly important at hot temperatures in order to keep the fluid balance stable and to keep the body healthy. In an interview with the “Rheinische Post” experts give tips on what is important when it comes to drinking properly and how to prevent a lack of fluids.
Body loses up to three liters of water a dayG
The body of an adult human is 60-70% water. A balanced water balance is necessary so that all physical and mental functions can be maintained and we feel efficient. Sweating, breathing and excretions usually cause about 2 to 3 liters of water to be lost in the course of a day, which we have to compensate for with food and, above all, with drinks. If this does not happen, the body reacts quickly and there are signs of internal dehydration, such as low blood pressure, fatigue, headache, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Externally recognizable signs are e.g. dry mucous membranes, a cracked tongue and permanent folds of skin after lifting them with thumb and forefinger.
Orientation towards personal thirst
"To balance the need for fluids, sufficient drinking is a must," emphasizes nutritionist Anja Krumbe in an interview with the "Rheinische Post". However, the experts disagree on the right amount. Some recommend a flat rate of two to three liters at high temperatures, others advise you to orient yourself to your own thirst. "A person's water requirements depend very much on their individual situation," explains Dr. Andreas Klamann continues. Since liquid is also absorbed through food, the chief physician for internal medicine at Helios Klinikum Borna found it sufficient for healthy people to simply drink according to their thirst.
Light urine means adequate supply
According to the expert, going to the toilet could also provide important clues. Light urine means that enough fluid has been absorbed, while dark urine indicates a deficiency. In this case, something should be drunk promptly. According to Anja Krumbe, mineral water with a lot of sodium and magnesium is recommended at high temperatures, because these minerals are lost to the body through increased sweating. Juice spritzers are also well suited in the correct mixing ratio (one part juice to three parts water). Alcohol, on the other hand, should be avoided in high heat, as it leads to an increased excretion and thus to an increased loss of fluid.
Children often forget to drink
Older people in particular are at increased risk of a lack of fluids. Because with increasing age the feeling of thirst decreases, which means that seniors often do not drink enough even at normal temperatures. When it is hot, they also lose fluid through sweating, which is often manifested by symptoms such as concentration problems, nervousness or confusion.
Children are also more at risk in summer temperatures because they quickly forget their thirst when playing outdoors. Parents and educators in childcare facilities should therefore always ensure that the little ones drink enough. According to the experts, this also applies to teachers - but drinking in class is often not allowed even at high temperatures. This is a problematic situation, since too little fluid not only limits physical but also mental performance and can lead to serious health problems in the long term.
Increased risk in people with heart problems
According to the experts, people with heart problems should also keep a close eye on their daily drinking amount. Because hot summer days in this case can become a very heavy burden and quickly lead to increased fatigue, exhaustion and concentration problems or even muscle cramps and cardiac arrhythmia. Even patients who should not normally be able to absorb as much fluid due to a weak heart should also drink a little more in the heat, advises Prof. Thomas Wendt in an interview with the newspaper. If there are uncertainties regarding the correct amount, it is advisable to consult the doctor treating you, said the medical director of the rehabilitation center in Bad Nauheim and member of the advisory board of the German Heart Foundation
Balance the water balance after exercising
If you want to do sports at high temperatures, you should also take good care to always be adequately hydrated to prevent the body from drying out (dehydration). Before the training, according to the internist Dr. Ernst Jakob about half a liter makes sense, after completion we recommend a slightly larger amount to balance the water balance. Here, too, mineral water or fruit water spritzers in the right mix are well suited. (No)