A healthy food & lifestyle blog specifically catering for & dealing with the symptoms & conditions of : Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) & Intracranial Hypertension (IH).
Looking at healthy food & food alternatives- redesigning classic recipes & new recipes;
Dealing and living with chronic health conditions on a daily basis- & research about the conditions;
Alternative therapies & remedies, gardening, arts & crafts...
Before undertaking any recipes found on this blog please look to the note in 'Cookery' !

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Treating Dehydration the Natural Way...

Dehydration (hypohydration) in simple terms: is the excessive loss of body water, with an accompanying disruption of metabolic processes.
It is literally the removal of water from an object; however, in physiological terms, it entails a deficiency of fluid within an organism.
Taken from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydration

I am not going to get into the nitty gritty details of what dehydration is, the different types, what causes it or how it actually occurs.
If you want that info Goggle it, or I suggest this page : http://www.hydration.net.au/page/shop/info_page/a/infopage_id/e/46 is a great resource tool!!
But I will tell you that dehydration can occur due to many different reasons, some of them not easily apparent .
Instead I am going to by-pass all of that and skip straight to symptoms of dehydration, chronic dehydration and how to treat it!!

Someone who is chronically dehydrated at a point somewhere between normal and the mild dehydration may even be able to develop a tolerance for that state so that it becomes the “new normal” for them. Suffice to say that any level of dehydration can and will lead to long term consequences if left unadressed.

The initial signs and symptoms of mild dehydration in adults appear when the body is depleted by about 2% of total fluid. In this mild dehydration state symptoms are:
Reduced Appetite (often despite a lengthy period without food)
Skin Flushing (especially face and neck)
Dark Coloured Urine (may be confused by supplement use or some foods)
Dry Mouth (and difficulty producing saliva)
Mild headache
At this point sometimes simple consumption of hydrating fluid will generally arrest any further development of symptoms.If the dehydration is allowed to continue to develop so that fluid loss reaches 5% of total fluid the following symptoms of significant dehydration are evidenced:
Decreased sweating and urination
Increased heart rate, respiration and body temperature
Extreme fatigue
Muscle cramps and Rheumatism
Severe headaches
Shrivelled and dry skin
Nausea, constipation and digestive Disorders
Rise in cholesterol levels
Cystitis and Urinary Infections
Neurosensory disturbances (tingling, numbness)
At this point simple consumption of significant amounts of hydrating fluid may arrest any further development of symptoms but often medical care and intravenous fluid are required.

When 10% of body fluid is lost immediate emergency help is required and in many cases this level of fluid loss is fatal. The symptoms of severe dehydration include:
Muscle spasms
Rapid pulse
Dim vision or temporary blindness
Painful urination with very low urine volume
Respiratory depression
Neuromuscular seizures
Chest pain
Gastritis, Stomach Ulcers
Without immediate medical care including intravenous fluid, and other strategies to minimise organ damage, fatality or significant loss of organ function is almost certain.

The treatment for minor dehydration, often considered the first port of call, is drinking water and stopping fluid loss.
Plain water restores only the volume of the blood plasma, reducing the thirst mechanism so the hydration levels can be replenished.
Solid foods can contribute to fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea.

In mild to sever cases of dehydration you need to replenish both water and electrolyte levels (through oral rehydration or fluid replacement by intravenous therapy).
This can be done by consuming clear fluids such as
water; clear broths; frozen water;
sports drinks (though you should look at the sugar levels!! It will make you more dehydrated)
electrolyte mixed drinks or ice pops (though you should check your blood results for potassium levels and sodium levels- if sodium levels are up maybe skip the pre-mixed electrolytes);
Coconut water re-hydrates more efficiently than water, has higher potassium levels than a banana, and has equal to or more electrolytes than pre-mixed specific electrolyte drinks;
Chamomile tea is an old favourite. Decaffeinated teas are an excellent choice when it comes to fluid replacement. Chamomile has the added benefit of being a natural pain reliever so it also helps relieve the stomach cramps that often accompany dehydration;
As well as consuming :
Bananas have great water content and are especially good for restoring potassium that has vanished with dehydration;
You can also try watery fruits such as cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberries. Watery vegetables such as cucumbers are good, too.

For severe cases of dehydration where fainting, unconsciousness, or other severely inhibiting symptom is present (the subject is incapable of standing or thinking clearly), and emergency attention is required.
Fluids containing a proper balance of replacement electrolytes are given orally or intravenously with continuing assessment of electrolyte status; complete resolution is the norm in all but the most extreme cases.

People who are dehydrated should avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, caffeinated tea, and sodas.

I personally chow down on bananas, A LOT of them!!!
And I looked into how to best replenish my electrolyte levels without affecting my pre-exisiting health conditions or making my dehydration worse... for me the pre-mixed electrolyte drinks, ice pops and sports drinks are a BIG HELL NO- they have waaayyy too much sugar in them, but also the sodium levels are too high.
Being chronically dehydrated for an extended period of time has driven up my sodium levels and severely depleted my potassium levels- HUZZAH!
So the best thing for me is coconut water and lots of it!!!
As well as drinking at least 2-3 ltrs of water a day.
At this point in time we are still not entirely sure what is causing my dehydration; we think it is most likely medication based.
But until we know for sure we cannot treat the cause of the problem, only the symptoms- even when we do know we may not be able to do anything about it as the medication in question is a vital one in the treatment of my IIH!!

ANYWHO... below are some yummy electrolyte drink recipes I snagged and minimally adapted from Everyday Roots.

Make Your Own Electrolyte Energy Drinks...
Lay-Low Recipe
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut water
2 tablespoons agave or honey, to taste
Toss everything into a food blender and blend until the honey is dissolved, or just use some elbow grease and blend it by hand. Pour yourself a tall glass, drop in a few ice cubes, and enjoy.

Bright ‘n Early Recipe
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 to 2 cups of coconut water
2 tablespoons agave or honey, to taste
Same as above. You can halve or double the recipe as you need, and feel free to experiment with flavours. Keep in mind citrus fruits, especially orange, are a good source of electrolytes.

Sweet and Smooth-ie recipe
3 cups of coconut water
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup of ice
2 tablespoons agave r or honey, to taste
Throw into you blender and let it run until everything is thoroughly mixed together and the mixture is smooth.

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