According to Masento, et.al., “sustained dehydration is associated with poor health; chronic dehydration greatly increases the chances of kidney stones and urinary tract infection, whereas prolonged vasoconstriction, as a result of chronic dehydration, can increase the chances of hypertension and stroke. These physical consequences highlight the importance of preventing voluntary dehydration and make it a public health issue” (2014). Furthermore, “studies measuring self-reported changes in the mental state have consistently found associations between dehydration and mood” (Masento et.al., 2014). For the purposes of the research reviewed, mood states were reported as ‘less alert’, ‘difficulty in concentrating’, ‘fatigue’, and ‘tension’ (Masento, 2014).
We came across a second review of multiple research studies that described evidence regarding the long-term health effects of mild dehydration. The conclusion stated that although there is far more research to be conducted (most research articles will say that), there is, however, increasing evidence that mild dehydration may play a role in various morbidities (Manz & Wentz, 2005). The article states that good hydration has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones, constipation, exercise-induced asthma and high blood sugar resulting from ketosis. Good hydration is also associated with a reduction in UTIs, high blood pressure, blood clots, and stroke (Manz & Wentz, 2005).
As nurses, it’s in our blood to load you up with a lot of research-backed, scientific information… some of which we know maybe no surprise to you. The interesting thing is, that most people understand that water is important, yet, how many of us actually drink the 8 glasses of water a day while following the food pyramid recommendations to get the right amount of fruits, vegetables, and proteins that we need to absorb the vitamins and minerals that are essential? Everyone has their reasons for not meeting a hydration goal; anything from a busy work or family schedule, to travel, or illness or anything in between. We get it. Life is busy. Why not maximize benefit in the most efficient amount of time?