Sunday, April 23, 2017

Eating to Live: Water the Driving Force

“Water is the driving force of nature”
 Leonardo da Vinci

I do what most people probably do first thing in the morning-I head to the bathroom. While sitting on the throne, I begin my day by rehydrating with a 10 ounce glass of water. I drink it slowly and allow my body to soak up its goodness, but this is not how I always felt about drinking water. I had my first bladder infection over thirty years ago. My doctor told me I should consider drinking more water. Up until this point I really didn't care for water and never gave a thought to how much I drank during the day. After the painful bladder infection I was determined to start a new water habit.

We have all heard at one time or another that we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but what size of glass? I found a glass refers to 8 ounces. So I began trying to work 64 ounces of water into my day. I decided I should start with a glass of water first thing each morning, because I read that after sleeping 7 or 8 hours we begin the day dehydrated. That was an easy habit to get into-10 ounces down, 54 to go! I worked in an office with a ladies restroom down the hall. By the second day of my hourly trips to the bathroom, Gloria, the secretary, popped her head out of her office and asked me if I was feeling okay. I told her what I was doing and she pointed to her desk. There sat a tall bottle of water. She mentioned my body would get used to drinking water after two weeks and I would not be making so many trips to the restroom. She also mentioned she always had water with her, kept track of how much she was consuming, and that she wrapped up her water drinking before 7 or 8 pm so she wasn't up all night. The next day I had a bottle of water sitting on my desk and it followed me throughout my day. Gloria was right, after about two weeks I no longer made hourly trips to the ladies restroom.

By drinking water on a regular basis I started noticing a number of improvements over a short period of time:
  • My skin, hair, and nails were not as dry.
  • My face looked revitalized.
  • I slept better at night.
  • I carried less water weight-go figure! But the fact is, drinking water flushes toxins out of the body.
  • My body physically felt better-almost as if I finally had what my body needed!
  • I felt more refreshed.
  • I got extremely thirsty if I was behind on my water intake, which was not something I noticed before my new water habit.
Interesting facts:
The body contains 55% to 78% water depending on your body size.

Our bodies can lose approximately 68 ounces of water through normal bodily functions. It just makes sense to replace what we lose each day.

Drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or taking various prescription medications is dehydrating so you might consider drinking that much more water to offset the dehydrating effects.

Most people are in a state of dehydration which can lead to a number of health related issues. Because of that fact, we should all be aware of the following:
As part of the blood workups for physicals a CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel) is done. This test covers many different levels including Estimated GFR (kidney function). Recently, I have known more than a few people with a Stage 4 flag on their blood workup. Stage 4 indicates possible kidney disease and advises nephrology (kidney specialist) consult, Stage 5 is kidney failure. And, of course, their doctors told these patients they needed to see a kidney specialist. BUT, before seeing the nephrologist (which can take 6-8 weeks) and after sharing their concern with me, they began drinking 40-60 oz. of water a day for 6 weeks. They asked their regular doctor to recheck their eGFR, and they no longer needed to see the specialist! A one-off test does not make something wrong, and on my blood lab results for eGFR it states that a single determination is not considered diagnostic. Had these people gone to the nephrologist, it would have meant an appointment or two with more tests when all these people needed to do was drink more water, AND continue to drink water on a regular basis! Most general practitioners and internists are willing to work with you if you have a reasonable plan of action (if not then you are going to the wrong doctor). Obviously, if more eGFR testing shows Stage 4 it definitely is time to see the nephrologist.

Over the years they have told us how much water to drink, and they have told us we don’t need to drink as much water as they originally told us. Who knows? Like so many other things they say, we need to figure out what makes sense and works for us. All I know is I feel better when I am consuming around 60 ounces of water a day. I am a driving force in my life and it all starts first thing in the morning with a glass of water. How much water do you drink in a day? Are you willing to allow water to be a driving force for change in your life?

Splash photo courtesy of Shawn Harquail