Water is the Word

Water and I have had a love hate relationship my entire life. I love to forget to drink it and it makes me then hate the fact that I did. I woke up tonight with horrible heartburn. I actually didn’t wake up. I had been laying there trying to ignore it since I desperately wanted sleep. I thought, if I ignored it, it would subside enough to let me sleep. Nope. I know the cause. I haven’t been drinking enough water lately. It’s one of the many ways that my body gives me ever so subtle hints to pick up a glass.

As the parents all go through their various ailments, I’ve been reading all that I can about the various ailments. One thing that keeps coming up is water. How well are you staying hydrated? Could the key to health really be in water? This simple liquid that is right there in our faucet can provide the answers to multiple ailments. I got to looking closer at all that is going on with my mother-in-law. Sally has Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, high blood pressure, severe fatigue, and stage 3 chronic kidney disease.

Now Alzheimer’s is the shrinkage of the brain matter. The way they diagnosis it is by doing a scan of the brain to look for shrinkage. Sally had rather severe shrinkage. In a few different places that I’ve read, I’ve seen them allude to the fact that the shrinkage could be caused by the fact that the brain did not receive enough water. I’ve thought about Sally’s habits with liquids. She drank very little. She had a cup or two of coffee in the morning and then part of a glass of tea with each meal. She very rarely drank anything in between meals. You just could not get her to drink much of anything let alone a glass of water because that was what her mother would do. On a good day, I bet maybe 24 ounces of liquids passed through her lips.

Vascular dementia is caused by high blood pressure. When your blood pressure goes too high, it can damage the blood vessels in your brain. That means oxygen and nutrients don’t make it to all the necessary areas of the brain because of the impaired blood flow. When you have high blood pressure, who do they send you to? They send you to a kidney specialist.

Your kidneys are the ones who help you regulate your blood pressure. Which goes back to water. Did you know that retaining water can cause your blood pressure to go up? Your body will sometimes retain water if you are not taking in enough. So your kidneys tell your body to retain water, your blood pressure goes through the roof, and another blood vessel is pinched closed in your brain. Scary little circle that can be avoided by water.

What I didn’t realize is how not drinking enough water can cause fatigue. It is the kidneys that tell your body to produce more red blood cells. You need these cells to carry the oxygen all over your body. Water also helps determine the viscosity of your blood. You don’t want your blood to be too thick since it would cause basically a traffic jam in your veins. Not enough oxygen being delivered by the blood causes fatigue.

What I have found with Sally is that her blood is way too thick and they have found that her hemoglobin levels are way too low. Her kidneys aren’t telling her body to make enough red blood cells. Then the blood that she has is creeping along at a snail’s pace. None of her body is getting enough oxygen. The end result is fatigue. Again, that could have been helped by this liquid stuff known as water.

The way I see it, I have been totally abusing my body by not giving it enough water. Sally abused it for years and she’s dealing with revenge from her body for starving it for water. This has all been a wake up call for me. I have to start respecting my brain. I realize now that I tend to stay in a constant state of chronic dehydration. Looking back, I can see how that affected my health. I get stressed and fall back into my old habits of too many soft drinks and cups of tea with not enough pure water. Then I get tired all the time, my allergies get worse, and heartburn comes along with its friend GERD to keep me awake at night.

Since I have been trying to take better care of my body through the increase of water, I have found some interesting things out. My blood pressure is finally getting closer to normal levels for the first time in over ten years. I have had intolerances and allergic reactions to every medication they have given me for it so I go commando. I ended 2016 with a trip to the ER due the fact that my blood pressure hit 234/140. My normal rate tended to be about 160/110. This morning it was 130/92. All because of water. Well, I can’t give water all the credit. I have gotten better about handling my stress. That can go back to being kinder to my brain.

If you are wanting to avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s, I say reach for your kitchen faucet. Also, be kind to your brain. I grew up with the song, “Grease is the Word,” floating around in my brain quite frequently. I think it is time for the new version, “Water is the Word.”

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