Dehydration Exacerbates Rheumatoid Arthritis and Harms your Overall Health


Dehydration Exacerbates Rheumatoid Arthritis

Did you know that dehydration exacerbates rheumatoid arthritis and can seriously harm your overall health? Water is essential to your health. Water supports many vital functions including: lubrication for your joints,  lubrication for your eyes, elimination of toxins from your body, balancing your electrolytes, and supporting optimal functioning of your digestive system , brain, kidneys, liver, and heart.  Severe dehydration can be life threatening. Humans can only sustain life for a few days without water.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

There are many things that can cause dehydration including: diarrhea and/or vomiting, excessive sweating from exercise or hot weather, a fever, use of some medications, any illness that reduces your ability to drink water, jobs that require outside work without access to water, frequent urination, etc.

Signs of Mild Dehydration Include:

  • Reduced endurance
  • Increased fatigue or drowsiness
  • Reduced ability to regulate body temperature
  • Reduced motivation (1)
  • Disruptions in Mood
  • Insomnia
  • Low urine output or dark urine
  • Headaches
  • Mild reduced cognitive function
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry eyes
  • Unexplained increased joint pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Confusion

Signs of Severe Dehydration Requiring Medical Intervention Include:

  • Delerium
  • Dementia
  • Heat stroke
  • Seizures due to electrolyte imbalances
  • Hypovolemic shock ( drop in blood pressure caused by low blood volume and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your blood)
  • Sudden increased joint pain requiring additional pain medication

Who is At Risk for Dehydration?

  • Infants
  • People with kidney disease, people with Sjogren’s Disease or any other disease that causes you to loose fluids.
  • People taking medication like diuretics that cause a reduction in body fluid
  • The elderly due to the fact that their thirst mechanism weakens as they age.
  • Any one with a chronic disease such as RA or diabetes

Dehydration is serious and needs to be treated before symptoms reach the serious stage. If left untreated, dehydration can cause death.

Dehydration Exacerbates Rheumatoid Arthritis and Harms Your Overall Health

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

The reason dehydration exacerbates rheumatoid arthritis is that your bones have cartilage that support joint movement.  Healthy cartilage is approximately 70-80% water. Your cartilage needs fluid to provide a cushion between your bones. The water content in cartilage is  regulated by a protein called aggrecan.  The aggrecan protein comes in contact with water, it becomes “spongy”.  This provides the cushion your joints need to move without pain. (7) You need to stay hydrated to help prevent the joint stiffness and pain associated with RA. Dehydration exacerbates rheumatoid arthritis joint pain.

Some experts believe that water should be prescribed as a treatment for RA. There are very few rheumatologists who stress the importance of hydration as a viable treatment for easing RA joint pain.

Additional Harm to Your Health

Dehydration can harm most vital systems in your body.

  • Your brain is 75% water. Dehydration shrinks your brain and causes confusion, fogginess, depression and poor brain functioning. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood.
  • Your skin is 30% water and needs water to help your body rid itself of toxins and to provide elasticity and resiliency to your skin.
  • Your digestive system needs water to function properly and to prevent constipation.
  • Your kidneys need water to help your body rid itself of toxins through urine.  Your kidneys also regulate your body’s fluid balance.
  •  Your blood is 85% water and needs fluid to circulate and provide oxygen throughout your body. Water also helps prevent clot formation, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Your muscles are 80% water, They need to stay hydrated so they can function smoothly.

All of these bodily systems are essential to your overall health.

 How to Avoid Dehydration

Here are some steps you can take to avoid dehydration

If you have vomiting or have diarrhea, drink extra water to replace the fluid you have lost.

If you exercise strenuously or do any thing that causes excessive sweating, begin hydrating your body prior to exercise, during exercise and after completing exercise. Do not wait until you are thirsty.

Even if you live in a dry, cold climate you may need  extra water because you loose body moisture in dry air as well as in heat.

If you have a bladder infection, you need extra fluid to help your body rid itself of the toxins and inflammation causing the bladder infection.

Most healthy adults urinate 7-8 times a day. Dr Mercola advises drinking enough water to support normal urination frequency.(2)

If you are elderly, you need to be vigilant about the fact that your thirst mechanism becomes weaker as you age.  Many elderly people land in the hospital on IV hydration because they are not thirsty so they do not drink enough water.

Coconut water is a good substitute for water if you want some variety.

If you are thirsty, drink filtered water right away. Do not wait until you have other symptoms of dehydration.

Don’t include soda drinks, alcohol and coffee in your count of liquid drinks. They all dehydrate your body.

Filtered water should be your #1 choice of drink if you have RA.

Bone broth is another liquid that helps hydrate joints. It contains minerals that are easily digested and your body can use them to help lubricate your joints. (7) If you have RA, bone broth is a good addition to your diet.

The bottom line is dehydration exacerbates rheumatoid arthritis so it is to our best interest to pay attention to keeping our body hydrated. It is a simple non-drug solution to helping treat the joint pain we all live with. Water also helps flush inflammation- causing toxins out of our body.

To Your Health and Happiness,


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