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Stay hydrated year round, especially in summer


I recently saw a patient for a routine visit. During the visit, a urine sample was collected. Upon analysis of the urine, it was discovered that the patient was not drinking enough water. The patient was shocked that there was an issue regarding their fluid consumption. They proceeded to tell me how much water they consumed each day. I heard about how difficult it was to lug cases of water bottles into the house. I then heard about how he consumed water with each meal, between meals and there just could be no way the did not consume enough fluids. Still, he needed to drink more water.

It is an age-old question that health care providers hear over and over, “How much water should I drink every day?” It usually is more than you are drinking now, and it can change by the different physiological states of your body. First off, these recommendations are for people who are healthy.

It is recommended that 91 ounces of fluids (2.7 liters) be consumed by women and 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men. Now, circumstances will change that specification. First, if you are a regular exerciser you will need more fluids. So, if you sweat, you need to replace that fluid. If you participate in high intensity activities, you will need even more. Some experts believe if you exercise more than an hour, you will need to replace electrolytes with a sports drink or some sort of oral rehydration solution as these are more effective in that particular situation,

If you are ill with a temperature, have diarrhea or have vomiting, you will need to increase your fluid intake. Here again consider oral rehydration fluids to replace the electrolytes lost.

Where you live also affects how much fluids you will need. We know that in the summer months and those who live in hotter climates need to consume additional fluids. Also, consider that if you live in a humid environment or if you live at a high altitude, those environments will increase the amount of fluids that you need.

If you are breast feeding or if you are pregnant, again you will need to increase your fluids. Speak to your healthcare provider to see just how much you need to consume for optimal health.

So, what signs should you look for that might give you an inkling that you need more water? First, look at your urine. It should be pale in color. If it is dark, you most likely need more fluids. Is your heart rate up, are you tired or weak or dizzy? Are you thirsty? This is a sensation that some people ignore or just do not recognize.

Remember, the elderly may need to be prompted to drink and kids in the midst of playing often forget to drink and must also be reminded to do so.

Can you over do it and consume too much fluids? Yes. It happens but not often. Use good judgement, pay attention to your body, the environment and the activities in your life. Keep your body hydrated.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at