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Defying dehydration – there’s an app for that!

Summer and hot weather is on the wane, but we still need to drink more water than we think to keep hydrated. How do you know how much and when? Smart technology could be the answer.

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  • Health
  • Read Time: 4 mins

Key Points

  • Drinking water is important for physical and mental health. 

  • Older people are especially vulnerable to dehydration. 

  • Smart technology development offers an easy guide to when to drink and how much. 

Older people are especially at risk of dehydration because they don’t drink enough water. The reasons are many and include cognitive decline, inadequate care, and/or physiological changes associated with both ageing, and comorbidities, such as poor kidney function and a lower thirst response. 

Not drinking enough water can affect our wellbeing and health, weakening our physical performance, kidney function, skin condition, and even mental state and cognition. 

In severe cases, people who don’t drink enough water are at greater risk of constipation, kidney stones, problems with their heart valves, and some types of cancer.  

Drinking water is also essential for the health of your mouth. In most parts of Australia it contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay. Water is also needed for the body to make saliva, which is important for washing food away from the teeth and helping you chew, taste, swallow and digest food. 

How much water

It’s easy to say, “stay hydrated”, but how much is enough for you? Every person is different. As a general rule, men need about 10 cups of fluid every day and women need about 8 cups, where a cup is equivalent to 250ml. 

How to measure hydration levels

Signs you need to drink more water

  • Dark urine. 

  • Light headedness. 

  • Tiredness. 

  • Irritability. 

  • Feeling thirsty. 

  • Loss of appetite. 

  • Fainting.

An emerging technology may help ensure you get enough water. 

While fitness trackers and smartwatch apps have long enabled users to track their fluid intake manually, newer wearables and sensor patches use lasers to measure water content, absorption, and the concentration of salts at various skin depths. 

A simple glance at the wrist can help avoid dehydration, which can occur after exercise. 

The devices could also benefit people who are susceptible to dehydration, including office workers, those who have fallen ill, and those who live at a higher altitude. 

Can you drink too much water? 

It’s a simple rule—drink when you’re thirsty. But for some people, drinking too much water can lead to a dangerous condition called hyponatremia, where the levels of sodium in the blood become too diluted.  

This can occasionally happen to people who drink too much while they’re doing intense physical activity, such as running a marathon.  

People with chronic kidney disease, heart failure or liver disease, who cannot get rid of water from the body as efficiently, should talk to their doctor about how much water to drink. 

If you have some other long-term medical condition, it is also a good idea to discuss your water consumption habits with your doctor. 

There is more information about how much water you should drink here.


For further reading: Tech News, Health DirectReal Simple

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