Dehydration, More Common Than You Think!

dehydrationpicOur bodies are comprised of 60 percent water. About 75 percent of the population is living day-to-day in a dehydrated state and don’t realize it.

Here is a simple visual. Not drinking enough water is the equivalent of washing a whole sink of dirty dishes with 1/4 cup of water. This results in the kidneys having to work very hard. They will only do this for so many years before they finally break. Then kidney dialysis or transplant is required just to sustain life.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • constant hunger
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • mental fogginess
  • joint pain
  • weight gain
  • agitation
  • high blood pressure

Many beverages that people reach for when they’re thirsty are actually mild diuretics, meaning they pull water from your body tissues and are then excreted. This includes anything with caffeine such as most sodas, coffee, and tea. This compounds the problem of dehydration by causing even more fluid loss.

For every caffeinated beverage consumed, an equal amount of water or non-caffeinated beverage needs to be taken in to counteract the dehydration effects of the caffeine. In essence, they cancel each other out and neither should be included in the total intake for the day.

The thirst mechanism doesn’t always cause feelings of thirstiness until severe dehydration is already underway. Many people report they never feel thirsty.

A subtle sign of dehydration that most aren’t aware of is feelings of hunger. If you feel hungry but have eaten recently or are trying to lose weight, drink an 8 ounce or larger glass of water and wait to see if the hunger subsides. Most often, it does.

The goal amount of daily water intake is one half of your body weight, in ounces. For example, a 150 pound person would need to drink 75 ounces of water a day. That would be 2 quarts plus about another cup. If spending time outside sweating or the weather is very warm, then even more water is needed. See two recipes below for making your own sport and health drinks.

This may sound like a lot if you’re not used to drinking much water so here are some tips for getting 8 or more cups per day. Use purified or bottled water. Tap water has too many chemicals and chlorine.

Dehydration Tips

  • Pre-measure a goal amount of water for the day. At the end of the day, the container should be empty. This gives you a “visual” on how much you’re drinking, or not drinking.
  • Incorporate water into your meals with watermelon, soups, or any other foods high in water.
  • If you don’t like water make your own flavored water by adding strawberries, crushed mint leaves, cucumber slices, lemon, lime or orange slices, or an herbal tea bag. Let it sit for a few hours or make a quart or sport bottle full the night before. Pouring heated water over the add-ins and then refrigerating will pull more flavor out into the water.
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal. This will keep you from overeating in case you start your meal in a dehydrated state, as well as the filling effect of the water. Drinking water before a meal instead of with a meal is preferred because it assists with digestion but doesn’t dilute the digestive fluids which slows digestion, causing a bloated feeling.
  • Vary the temperature of your drinks. Have warm herbal tea. Make a quart of herbal tea for the day and store in the fridge. Hibiscus, ginger, or mint are great to start with. Enjoy over ice anytime for a refreshing change. Have a decaf coffee, iced or hot, with a natural sweetener.
  • Whenever you urinate, let that be a reminder to prepare and start drinking the next 2 cups of non-caffeinated beverage that you choose. Your urine should be a light straw color. Any darker is a sign your kidneys are struggling.

Keep yourself feeling in tiptop shape all day by keeping up with your water intake. When you drink purposefully for the sake of getting your necessary fluids for the day, unnecessary hunger, fatigue, and headaches can be warded off before they ever start.


Sports Drink

It turns out that two tablespoons of lemon juice contain almost exactly the amount of potassium in 8 oz of a typical sports drink. So, if you want to make your own low-carb sports drink, it’s quite easy and the cost is minimal. Tastes a lot better too! Just mix together:

    • 1 cup (8 oz) purified water (not carbonated) or coconut water (not coconut milk)
    • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • pinch of salt (Himalayan or sea salt- contains 50 or more trace minerals the body requires for good health)
    • flavoring and sweetener to taste (splash of fruit juice, juice concentrate or herbal tea and a natural sweetener such as honey, sugar, or stevia)

Health drink

Apple Cider Vinegar (raw) contains enzymes and promotes healthy bacteria in the gut. It also helps with weight loss by regulating blood sugar.

      • 1 cup purified water
      • 1 – 2 tsp raw unfiltered Apple Cider vinegar (the cloudy kind, Bragg is a good brand)
      • Splash of juice, to taste
      • Sweetener such as honey, molasses or maple syrup, to taste

Laura RN

Saving A Life

bloodclotpicThis life saving email comes by my desk every so often.  It’s fantastic to know because it, one day, could help you save a life.

They say if you send this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life.  Will you send this along?

Blood Clots/Stroke – They Now Have a Fourth Indicator,  the Tongue

I will continue to forward this every time it comes around!

Remember the 1st Three Letters….. S. T. R.


During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) …she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Jane’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital – (at 6:00 pm Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don’t die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this.

Neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the ‘3’ steps, STR. Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a  bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S  *
Ask the individual to SMILE.
T  *
Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE  (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today.)
  *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke ——– Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE:  Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this message sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.

I have done my part. Will you?

Make Exercising Fast, Fun, and Convenient

brain-scanExercise tends to be placed on the “back burner” for most people, whether you’re  extremely overworked and just “too busy to exercise”, or just can’t find the motivation, it seems there’s always something that needs to be done instead, always! I speak from experience!


You know you should be doing it and plan on starting “one day” but that day never comes, and when it does, it’s fleeting and doesn’t become a regular habit.


Why do I need to Exercise?


There are many benefits and here are some of the important ones


  • Exercisers report more motivation and better time management for their day
  • Weight loss – burns calories and increases metabolism for several hours after exercise
  • Tones and strengthens muscles – can prevent common injuries due to weakness and makes one look great!
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Enables deeper sleep
  • Desire to eat better
  • Blood sugar control – helps prevent diabetes and better blood sugar control of those with diabetes. Exercise helps burn off excess sugar in the blood as well as decreasing insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes.
  • Increased confidence and posture
  • Ability to think more clearly due to increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain (see picture)


Where do I start?


First and foremost, don’t think too hard about exercising. You’ll end up talking yourself right out of it.


Set your clothes and shoes out the day before


Right before you start, drink half a glass of water – a moving body needs hydration.


Head out the door with a watch or phone, walk as fast as you’re comfortable with, and don’t go back home for 20 minutes.


Listen to music if you get bored. Those who listen to music tend to exercise longer and enjoy it more. Some like the relaxing quietude of whatever sounds are around them.


Ask a friend to join you – it’s more fun and goes by faster


When you’re at the store, pick up a 10 dollar exercise DVD – dance, yoga, pilates, aerobics, and set it up the night before with your clothes nearby. It’s fun to try something different.


Don’t forget to actually open the DVD and turn it on. If you don’t like it, try it at least 2 times. You may like it better at a later time.


Buy another DVD, one every week if you need to. Most gyms are more than 40 dollars a month to exercise. Keeping it fun in interesting is key!


I’ll never get a body like that so why bother?
Don’t be discouraged by those you see “going all out” with their routine. That’s not necessary to get the above benefits.


Every person is different – only compete with yourself


Moderation is important to keep injuries from occurring and prevent burning out and quitting.


Health is THE most important reason for exercising. Not overdoing your exercise ensures you will enjoy it and reap the benefits of feeling great and energetic.


So, before I find something else to do right now, I’m heading out on my bike for a fast yet relaxing ride! That’s one of my approaches to a healthy day.


Laura RN

Do the Shoulder Roll, and Breathe – For Better Health and a Stronger Posture (as a matter of fact, you can start right now as you read this!)

posturepicMom was right. “Don’t slouch!” We’ve all heard it over the years. Sitting slouched over computers for hours a day, whether for work or play, causes feelings of fatigue, upper back pain, stiffness, neck pain and headaches by the end of the day. In addition to slouching, stress makes us hold our shoulders in a constant raised position which only aggravates all the above symptoms. 
A lumbar support can help with your posture while sitting but doesn’t do anything for strengthening those muscles mentioned above, or getting air into your lungs.
Eventually, you find yourself  in that same  “slouched” position even when not on the computer; like eating, walking, cooking.

The problem with bad posture is:

  • We are not able to breath air fully into our lungs, resulting in tiredness and decreased thinking capacity due to less oxygen delivery to the brain.
  • The chest, shoulder, and back muscles will atrophy (decrease in size and strength) from the constant sagging and being underused.
  • It causes you to look older and 10 pounds heavier when you slouch.
  • The upper portion of the spine can eventually develop a permanent outward curve that doesn’t go away, and is very unattractive. It’s what gives older persons that “old age” look.
At first it may be tiring to sit this way if your muscles aren’t used to it. But over time, your muscles will strengthen enough that you’ll find it actually feels much better than slouching and you’ll be able to do it without even thinking about it. Be persistent, it takes time to change old habits!
A lot of problems can be prevented by doing a simple shoulder roll and deep breathing as often as possible until it becomes habit. If you aren’t exercising regularly, the bottoms of your lungs rarely get that breath of fresh air. That can lead to a whole different set of problems.
How do I do “The Shoulder Roll”?

You will need to sit upright in your chair, or stand tall, arms at your side. Do the following slowly and with purpose:

  • Start with a very deep breath, hold for a few seconds then let it out.
  • Lift your shoulders as if trying to touch your ears with your shoulders.
  • Roll your shoulders back as if trying to touch the shoulder blades together in your back.
  • Slide your shoulders downward.
  • Relax your shoulders and neck into a neutral position.
That’s it! Your goal is to stay or get back into this position as often as possible, especially for those tasks that cause you to lean over.
Once again, deep breath…..lift…..roll…..slide…..relax.
Once this is done enough times, you will be able to do the deep breath at the same time.
This is a simple, easy move that can give a healthier approach to your day!
Laura RN

Epsom Salt Baths – Not just for relaxation

epsomsaltpicMany think of Epsom salt baths as a luxury they don’t have time for, or for relief of sore muscles and achy joints for when they’ve gone crazy at the gym. Not so! An Epsom salt bath is actually therapeutic for good health!

(Please note that if you have kidney disease, contact your doctor before using any magnesium supplements.)

Magnesium Deficient?

Many people are deficient in magnesium. There are several reasons for this.

  • First, modern industrial farming has caused depletion of minerals from the soil, including magnesium.
  • Second, the American diet has gone from a whole unprocessed food diet to a diet of mostly processed foods, too much sugar and protein, and unhealthy salts and fats, all leading to decreased magnesium intake and absorption. Our ancestors did not have these issues to deal with.

What’s the Big Deal?

Magnesium is of extreme importance and is actually one of the most abundant elements in the human body. Deficiency rarely shows on blood tests because only 1% is in the blood. Most is in the bones and teeth. The body is amazingly built to keep the levels in the blood constant by pulling it from those places. Otherwise, any kind of deficiency could cause a potentially deadly heart rhythm.

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, irritability, nausea and vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasm and weakness, hyperventilation, insomnia, poor nail growth, and even seizures.

Magnesium helps regulate over 300 enzymes and is involved in many bodily functions such as muscle control, electrical impulses, production of energy, keeping bones strong, and the elimination of harmful toxins. It can even ward off migraines, help with depression and diabetes, decrease the risk of developing asthma and reduce fibromyalgia pain.

Do I Need Magnesium Supplements?

Americans take tons of calcium but rarely enough magnesium. The small amount that comes in calcium tablets isn’t near enough that’s needed for good health. Calcium intake without enough magnesium can actually result in improper calcium placement in the body, for example, not in the bones and teeth where it belongs.

Here’s where Epsom salt comes in, known as hydrated magnesium sulfate. This form of magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin unlike the oral form which is not easily absorbed from the digestive tract. Studies have shown there is an increased magnesium level in the body after soaking in a bath with Epsom salt.

Where Can I Buy It?   Or DIY.

Epsom salt can be purchased at grocery stores, drug stores and supercenters for very little money and are available either plain or with added essential oils such as eucalyptus or lavender. If you want more variety in scents you can pay a LOT more at specialty stores or just add your own essential oils such as rose, lavender, cedar, chamomile or sandalwood, or a combination of whatever you want.

Just Do It…

Fill your tub with whatever temp you like and add 1 – 2 cups depending on the size of your tub. Fifteen minutes or more is all it takes. Your body will absorb what it needs.

So turn on your favorite tunes or TV show, or grab a book, candle, herbal tea and head to the tub. This is not a luxury; it’s the “Healthy Approach”!

Laura RN