Ageing well – Hydration

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Hello, my name is Jitka Vseteckova and I am
Senior Lecturer in Health and social care in the Faculty of
Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies at The Open University. As part of the Ageing Well series of mini lectures we’ll be exploring how important
it is, over our lifespan, to maintain a well-balanced
nutrition and hydration as well as a regular physical and social activity in the older age. We explore how using this knowledge might facilitate selfmanagement and delay the ageing processes for as much as we can. As we know we start
ageing the moment we are born, it demonstrates more significantly when we reach a certain
age, the usual benchmark being 65+, but our ageing starts much much sooner, and the way
ageing demonstrates when we are over 65 depends a lot on decisions, we have been making
over our life span. Today we’ll focus on hydration. Ageing brings about changes in metabolic rate and muscles, brain, liver, kidneys, and overall
mobility. All these changes affect how well do on a daily basis in terms of hydration. Also, our daily hydration (the amount of water, liquids
we drink every day) will affect further changes and speed of these changes on the metabolic
rate, liver and kidney function, muscle function, nervous system and overall feeling of wellbeing
and mobility. When we don’t drink enough: • Metabolic rate decreases – slowing further down metabolic processes in our body (how fast we process food, drugs/medication we are taking. • Our, already, ageing liver and kidneys suffer from insufficient hydration, processing
drugs / medication is slowed down, and we are more likely to suffer negative side
effects of drugs we are taking AND we risk that the drugs were taking will have a
further cumulative effect in our body… • This is closely linking to how drugs are
moving through our body. We NEED TO BE concerned about how we can eliminate quickly
all drugs from the system, as a cumulation of drugs leads to many negative
effects. • And also, how the drugs take effect. Ageing changes result in different responses to the same amount of the same drugs we have been taking over our lifespan. Drugs take longer to act and longer to clear out. – This is in a relatively hydrated body, so further dehydration makes all metabolic processes
much slower, prolonging the negative effects the drugs. • This negatively influences our muscle function and neural system functions … this, in turn, increases our sedation, we feel weaker, dizzier, wobblier and have higher risks of falls and falls related injuries – one
of the main consequences here is immobility and loss of independence in our lives. • Dehydration long-term can cause memory loss and other symptoms mimicking early
signs of dementia or Alzheimer disease, when drinking plenty these are usually
reversible (If picked up fast enough) The strict minimum of water intake in our
daily diet is 1.5 litres per day (of course, if we are taking any diuretics, laxatives we need to drink more). This is only to make sure the
metabolic processes (and there are many) can go ahead. Ideally, this should be much closer to 2 litres per day excluding coffee, tea, alcohol as
these are dehydrating beverages and have a further diuretic effect. For each cup of coffee or tea or alcohol, we would ideally have another glass of water. Staying hydrated is good and very necessary for our physical and mental wellbeing. Please be mindful as we grow older, we may also forget to drink, and our feeling of thirst
decreases with increasing age so please let others remind you to drink. Drink when you are not thirsty and have a measure of what you
have drunk so far throughout the day. If you have a water or water fountain near you, please go and get a water cuppa! Here’s to your good health 😊… and thanks for watching! Get more from The Open University Check out the links on screen now

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