May 27, 2024


Truth Triumphs

Dehydration- The #1 Cause of Brain Fog!

GUEST COLUMN: Dr N Prabhudev
Bengaluru, Dec. 23: Mental confusion and dehydration! While infants and children are at the greatest risk of suffering dehydration, adults suffer too. Up to 78% of your body is made of water. Your brain is made up of 73% water, and so is your heart. Your bones are 31% water, your muscles and kidneys are 79%, and your skin is 64%. A whopping 83% of water makes up your lungs.

“In Medical college, I was teaching clinical medicine to students in the fourth year of medicine, I asked the following question:
What is the commonest cause of mental confusion in the elderly?

Some answer: “Tumours in the head”. No! Others suggest- “Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s”. No!
With each rejection of their answers, their responses dry up. And they were even more open-mouthed, when I listed the most common cause: – Dehydration! It may sound like a joke; but it isn’t. People over 60 generally stop feeling thirsty and consequently, stop drinking fluids. When no one is around to remind them to drink fluids, they quickly dehydrate.
Dehydration if severe affects the entire body. It may cause abrupt mental confusion, a drop in blood pressure, increased heart palpitations, angina -chest pain, coma and even death. This habit of forgetting to drink fluids, begins at age 65, when we have just over 50% of the water we should have in our bodies. People over 60 have a lower water reserve. This is part of the natural aging process.

But there are more complications. Although they are dehydrated, they don’t feel like drinking water, because their internal balance mechanisms don’t work very well. Our bodies are constantly adjusting the balance between water, electrolytes, salt losses and fluid intake. When we don’t consume enough water, our bodies become dehydrated and out of balance. Thus, eventually having detrimental effects on your body and mind.

Dehydration has three phases: mild, moderate and severe!
Mild and moderate dehydration can be addressed by drinking water or fluids that contain electrolytes. Mild dehydration is often as low a rate as 1.5-2% dehydration. This is equivalent of sweating out about a litre of water -approximately 30 minutes of exercise. You probably won’t even feel thirsty at this point, but you’ll probably feel the effects. Studies have shown that even being mildly dehydrated can make it difficult to perform cognitive tasks.
Brain Fog!
There are several things that can cause brain fog. brain fog caused by dehydration creates a feeling of confusion. Thus, making it difficult to focus or to translate thoughts into words, and a long list of other problems.

Water is the Life-blood of the Brain! Water is essential for supplying the brain with nutrients and for removing toxins. The brain is approximately 75% water. The exchange of toxins and nutrients are more efficient when the brain is hydrated. This ensures mental alertness and improved concentration. When the brain is engaged, operating on a full reserve of water, we think faster, and are more focused. Also, we experience greater creativity and mental clarity.

Dehydration causes your brain to shrink in volume. This affects a variety of mental processes, including memory, concentration, and diminished cognitive performance. physical performance is reduced at a threshold of 25% of body mass. Especially if it’s the result of exercising in a warm environment. The dehydration can lead to impairment of tasks that require motor coordination, attention to detail, and executive function. This includes things like math, proofreading grammatical reasoning and map recognition.
Drinking 16 ounces of water a day can raise your metabolic rate by as much as 30%. As a result, it will improve athletic performance. In as little as 20 minutes of drinking water, other symptoms can be reversed, including dehydration-induced headaches. Cold water absorbs 20% faster than room temperature water. What this means is that drinking cold water increases the speed of restoration.
Stay Hydrated!
Drink 8-10 ounces of water first thing in the morning. Do this on an empty stomach. Then wait 30-45 minutes before consuming any food.

Avoid sugary drinks
Drink before you get thirsty. If you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, and that can cause signs of dehydration like headache, fatigue, dizziness and more.
Signs of Dehydration You Shouldn’t Ignore- Thirst, urine turns a dark yellow or brownish colour, or if it has a stronger odour than normal, Dizziness or fainting, Muscle cramps or weakness, Constipation, scanty urination, Dry skin, tongue and mouth, Fatigue, headache or confusion! Low Energy, Headaches and Mental Confusion!

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