Neuropathy & Hydration
Maintaining adequate hydration is imperative to good health. This is because in order for our cells to function, our body needs to be kept hydrated. Drinking enough water allows our body to maintain enough bodily fluid so it is able to perform key bodily functions. This includes supporting circulation, absorption and transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. And, with about 60% of our body being made up of water, it’s no wonder we are always told to drink plenty of water.
How Does Keeping Hydrated Improve Neuropathy Symptoms?
Although keeping hydrated is a universal health component, it is even more important with people suffering from neuropathy. Why? Because dehydration can lead to toxin buildup and cellular inflammation – two key components that can cause pain. Chronic pain sufferers can feel even more discomfort when their body is dehydrated. Extra discomfort means a harder day and trouble sleeping at night.
Water also plays a key role in nerve function. For nerves to transmit messages, there must be a sufficient amount of water circulating in the neural pathways. When water levels are low, nerve function is disrupted. Consequently, a feeling of pain is often felt along damaged nerves (such as the case with neuropathy).
How Can You Keep Hydrated?
The most important element of hydration is simple – be aware of signs of thirst and drink more water. It’s that easy! Our body is smart. It lets us know when we need to increase fluids. It does this by sending signals to the brain to create those feelings of thirst. However, we only start to feel thirsty when the body already shows signs of dehydration. It’s important to make sure that your water intake is sufficient (about 8, 8 oz glasses a day is what’s recommended).
When looking to improve your fluid intake, there are some sources that are better than others. In most situations, when thirsty, your go-to should be water. However, some electrolyte drinks and coconut water are good alternatives. When looking for food choices, fruits (and some vegetables) tend to be quite hydrating. It’s also best to try to avoid drinking soft drinks to quench your thirst, as it does the opposite and increasing dehydrated instead.
It’s also important to be aware of when you’re be losing water. When exercising or spending long hours in the sun, remember to replenish what you’ve lost through sweat. If you consume caffeine or alcohol, be mindful that both of these are diuretics and will increase your water output, leading to further dehydration.