I’m a country-music fan, and one of my favorite songs from Luke Bryan is “Rain is a Good Thing.” Luke grew up in Leesburg, not far from where my wife, Jennifer, was born and raised.
Both Luke and Jennifer’s parents are farmers. It’s a way of life in southwest Georgia. And all farmers know the importance of rain. Peanuts, soy beans, corn, cotton or an orchard of pecan trees — they all need rain.
It only makes sense that the body also depends on water.
According to water.usgs.gov, up to 60 percent of an adult human body is water. This number varies among gender, age and body type, but it is safe to say that we need water in order for the body to carry on important functions.
That includes eliminating waste, mainly through urination, which is important for a number of reasons. As we age, the percentage of water in our body decreases. Factor in other age-related health issues (taking more than five medications, poor mobility, drinking less due to loss of feeling thirsty, and even Alzheimer’s disease), and keeping the body hydrated can be a challenge. Dehydration can bring on signs of dementia (not thinking clearly, memory disorders and impaired reasoning). A person who is dehydrated is urinating less, which can also lead to a urinary-tract infection. These infections also impact thinking and reasoning as well. Now you have a bigger problem on your hands.
If you notice a loved one who has suddenly changed in their way of thinking and reasoning, you should always have him/her checked for dehydration and a UTI. These issues are becoming more prevalent in our older adults, and an undiagnosed UTI can be fatal.
Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to dehydration, which is a secondary health issue to the flu. Flu season is rapidly approaching, so remember: If you get the flu, you must rehydrate your body, or you will have other health complications to battle.
Weather also plays a part. Don’t be fooled by thinking that cooler weather means you can drink less water throughout the day. Dehydration can happen any time of the year. So drink up, my friends, but be sure you are drinking noncaffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic and so is alcohol, so both need to be used in moderation as we age.
As my father-in law, who is a South Georgia pecan farmer, once told me, “If you don’t have rain, nothing else really matters. It all depends on the water.”
Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.