Question: Why is hydration important particularly in those with Parkinson’s Disease? It is August in Central Texas and it is hot! To “beat the heat”, I’ve started to walk around my neighborhood earlier in the morning. In these strolls, I noticed many neighbors are watering their plants and lawns on a regular basis to ensure their plants flourish even during these hot days. Watering the landscape is a great reminder for us to also pay attention to our own hydration needs. We all agree that hydration is important but why is it so vital for those with Parkinson’s Disease? Adequate hydration is essential for all body functions including keeping our gastrointestinal tract lubricated to move waste product out. So, fluids play a vital role with bowel movements and it has been estimated that 80-90% of people with Parkinson’s Disease battle constipation1. So, how much hydration should you be getting per day? Let me answer that with a question – What percentage of our body weight is comprised of body fluid? Que the Jeopardy music! 60% of our total body weight is from fluid2. That is a significant percentage and it highlights the fact our bodies require hydration. We receive hydration from two sources – food and liquids. Typically, we receive 70-80% of our hydration from liquids and the remaining from foods. The recommended amount of total fluid intake per day is 125 ounces for men over 19 years old and 91 ounces for women over 19 years old2. I bet you are saying to yourself “I can’t drink that much! Why so much?” We require a lot liquid because we expend a lot. We have four primary ways we get rid of water. The first two ways deal with the bathroom. We lose water through urination and fecal matter. The third mode is through sweating. We lose an average of 7 ounces of water through sweating daily. The final method is through respiration. We expire nearly 35 ounces of water each day through our normal breathing. Tips to increase your daily water intake are:
- Keep a water bottle/tumbler or multiple close by to make it easier to use
- Add some flavor. Add citrus, herbs, and/or vegetables to a water bottle to jazz it up!
- Set reminders on your phone to remind yourself to drink or track on a pad of paper
Since we lose water in a number of ways, we need to replenish it so go out and drink water!
- Barichella M, Pacchetti C, Bolliri C, et al. Probiotics and prebiotic fiber for constipation associated with Parkinson disease: An RCT. Neurology. 2016;87(12):1274-1280.
- Nelms M, Sucher K, Lacey K. Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology. 3 ed: Cengage Learning; 2016.