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Reasons Water Intake is a Necessity for Diabetics

water intake is a necessity

Water is essential for every single person to stay healthy and for all the systems in our bodies to function properly. But did you know that for people with diabetes, getting enough water every day is extra important? Let’s delve into exploring the many reasons water intake is a necessity for diabetics.

Drinking sufficient amounts of water can actually help manage diabetes and prevent some serious complications. Let’s dive into the fascinating reasons whyH2O needs to be a top priority if you or a loved one has diabetes!

What is Diabetes?

Before we get into the water connection, it’s good to understand what diabetes is in the first place. Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the body either does not produce enough insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas) or cannot properly use the insulin it does produce.

Insulin’s major job is to regulate the levels of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. When there is a deficiency of insulin or the insulin is not working effectively, it causes blood sugar levels to rise too high, which is dangerous.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes: In this form, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It is not preventable and usually first occurs in childhood.

Type 2 Diabetes: This is the most common form where the body develops resistance to insulin and cannot use it properly anymore. It is closely linked to being overweight/obese and having an inactive lifestyle.

While there is no cure yet for diabetes, it can be managed through proper diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, taking insulin or oral medications as needed, and drinking sufficient water!

The Dehydration Connection

One of the biggest concerns with uncontrolled high blood sugar levels in diabetes is that it can cause excessive urination and fluids being pulled from the body’s tissues. This is the body’s way of trying to get rid of the excess sugar circulating in the bloodstream.

However, this frequent urination can lead to becoming dehydrated very easily if those lost fluids are not being adequately replaced. Staying well hydrated by drinking enough water is absolutely crucial for diabetics to prevent dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, dark yellow colored urine, excessive thirst, and dry eyes, mouth and skin. If dehydration is not treated by consuming more fluids, it can progress into a very serious diabetic complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

DKA is a potentially life-threatening condition most commonly seen in type 1 diabetes where the body starts burning fat for energy instead of glucose, producing an excess of blood acids called ketones. Symptoms of DKA include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, flushed skin, fruity odor on the breath, and confusion.

The best way to prevent DKA is by closely monitoring blood glucose levels, taking medications as prescribed, and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated! Even mild dehydration can increase the risk.

Proper Kidney Function

Our kidneys are small but incredibly hard workers when it comes to filtering waste products and excess water out of our blood and bodies. With diabetes, the kidneys have to work overtime dealing with excess sugar in the bloodstream. This can take a major toll on kidney function over time.

Drinking enough water actually helps to dilute the blood and flush out those excess sugars, reducing some of the stress on the kidneys. Water also helps move waste products out of the kidney tissue and into the bladder for elimination.

When people with diabetes are dehydrated and not drinking sufficient fluids, the kidney’s filtering ability becomes impaired, not only by the sugars but also by the thickened blood itself. This makes the kidneys work even harder and increases the risk of developing kidney disease or diabetic nephropathy down the road.

In severe cases, dehydration in diabetics can even lead to acute kidney injury and kidney failure where dialysis or a transplant may be needed. Following a diet for kidney disease and drinking enough water are key preventative steps.

Better Blood Sugar Control

While water itself does not actually raise or lower blood sugar levels, it can indirectly aid in better management of diabetes by preventing dehydration. Becoming even mildly dehydrated has been shown to cause blood sugar levels to rise and fluctuate more.

How does this happen? Scientists believe that dehydration may cause a rise in certain blood sugar regulating hormones like vasopressin. It also leads to a more concentrated blood level of sugars which the body tries to dilute by drawing even more water out of cells, potentially dehydrating you further.

Drinking water regularly helps maintain proper fluid balance and more stable blood sugar readings. Proper hydration also enhances the body’s ability to naturally flush out any excess sugars through urination instead of letting them accumulate in the bloodstream.

When choosing beverages, avoid sugary drinks like soda, juices and sweetened coffees or teas which can dramatically spike blood sugar levels. Water is the absolute best option, along with unsweetened seltzer waters if you prefer some fizz and flavor.

Lower Risk of Infection

Believe it or not, drinking sufficient water can actually help prevent infections in diabetics. Those with uncontrolled blood sugars are at higher risk of developing bacterial and fungal infections, especially of the urinary tract and skin.

Proper hydration is crucial for keeping bacteria flushed out of the urinary system and preventing bladder infections that could potentially spread to the kidneys. It also keeps skin better hydrated, more pliable and resistant to bacterial growth in cuts, wounds and sores.

Some studies have even found that hydrating with water helped improve immune responses, white blood cell counts and antibody production which helps fight off infections more effectively.

Dehydration can impair these immune defenses.

Drinking sufficient water is an easy, natural way to strengthen the body’s infection-fighting ability. An added bonus: water also helps muscles and joints work better by keeping them lubricated!

Relief from Other Complications

Dehydration can potentially worsen other complications and conditions commonly seen in diabetics like:

Cardiovascular Disease: Chronic dehydration causes blood volume to drop which makes the heart work harder to pump nutrients around the body. This added strain raises blood pressure and heart disease risk.

Diabetes Neuropathy: Staying hydrated allows essential nutrients to circulate freely and reach nerve endings, reducing nerve damage.

Constipation: Sufficient water intake keeps things moving along smoothly in the digestive tract to prevent stopped up bowels.

Dizziness and Headaches: Even mild dehydration can cause balance issues and severe headaches or migraines.

Dry Mouth: Drinking water helps keep saliva production going to prevent dry mouth.

Foot Ulcers/Wounds: Proper hydration increases blood circulation and promotes faster healing of cuts, sores or infections on the feet, which diabetics are prone to.

So many long-term complications of diabetes are either caused or exacerbated by dehydration and lack of water intake. Making sure to drink enough H2O can significantly reduce these risks and improve overall health.

How Much is Enough Water?

With all these great reasons why water is essential for diabetes management, you might be wondering how much you actually need to drink each day. Dietary guidelines recommend that adult women consume about 9 cups (72 oz) of fluids daily, while adult men should aim for around 13 cups (104 oz).

A good rule of thumb for diabetics is to drink enough water to keep your urine a pale, straw-like yellow color. Dark yellow or amber colored urine may be a sign of dehydration and that you need to drink more fluids.

It’s also wise to increase water intake in hot weather, during bouts of illness, or after any intense exercise since these cause you to lose more fluids through sweating. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking – by then you’re already becoming dehydrated.

The Power of Hydration

As you can see, making water your beverage of choice and drinking sufficient amounts of it each day is absolutely crucial for diabetics. Proper hydration helps support kidney function, blood sugar management, infection prevention, and reduced risk of other serious complications from diabetes.

Don’t take the power of hydration for granted! Something as simple and natural as water can truly make a world of difference in how you feel and your overall health when living with diabetes. Be sure to drink up and make H2O your new best friend!

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