We’ve all had someone tell us to drink more water at some point in our life (as my husband often tells me). Today I want to talk about a reason to drink more liquid — and no, Southern Comfort® doesn’t count!– that most people don’t consider and may not know about.

I am currently treating a patient, “J”, in the clinic for what initially presented to be a vestibular, or balance, dysfunction. J was initially evaluated and tested positive for BPPV, a type of vertigo which is usually treated in 1-2 visits.

Corrective treatments were 75% successful and although J felt better, a lingering “woozy feeling, like when you get off a small carnival ride”, but no spinning sensation, still needed to be addressed. J felt this woozy feeling most of the day, but more so in the morning hours.

First, I began further treatments for vestibular dysfunction with only a little success. It wasn’t until J came into an appointment very light headed, pale, and not feeling well that we began to piece together the puzzle.

I took J’s vitals several times  in different positions while we chatted for quite some time. Finally we came to the root of the lingering problem through the correlation of dehydration and dizziness. J was dehydrated!

Below are the facts that led us to the discovery that J’s dizziness was due to dehydration:

  • Heart rate was elevated
  • Blood pressure was low and dropped more than normal upon standing (Orthostatic Hypotension)
  • Post nasal drip: mucous formation in the body can decrease fluid stores, increasing risk of dehydration
  • Mild laxative ingestion for several days (physician prescribed): laxatives decrease the bodies ability to absorb fluid
  • From 7pm until noon the next day J would only drink a cup of coffee in the morning: That’s a long time for just 8oz of fluid!

I advised J to hold off on completing her vestibular exercises for now and to drink lots of fluid over the next few days to hopefully eliminate both the dehydration and dizziness. She reported to her next visit feeling nearly 100% better.

The USDA states:

“Total water intake includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water contained in food. Because normal hydration can be maintained over a wide range of water intakes, the Adequate Intake (AI) for total water was set based on the median total water intake from U.S. survey data (IOM, 2004). The AI for total water intake for young men and women (age 19 to 30 years) is 3.7 L and 2.7 L per day, respectively.”

In short, adults should drink at least half their body weight in liquid ounces per day.

– meaning if you weigh 200 lbs you should drink 100 oz per day. This is especially true for the elderly who often have a decreased thirst sensation and may become dehydrated easily.

If you are not a plain water drinker, try adding sliced fruit or cucumbers to water in order to add a hint of flavor. Teas are another option that have many added health benefits! Just try to avoid drinks loaded with sugar, however a little real sugar is better than sugar substitutes.

As a friend of mine also just pointed out, it is especially important that you drink adequate fluids when exercising or enjoying the outdoors in warm climates!

So, next time you are feeling a little like you just got off a small carnival ride try drinking some liquids and you may just find that you were simply dehydrated!

Image by: zirconicusso FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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