Are you adequately hydrated?

Because I have heart failure, and Lymphoedema,  I take diuretics. What a lot of people don’t realise is that, when taking diuretics, you need to increase your fluid intake.

This sounds counter-intuitive when you’re peeing every 20-30 minutes and, indeed, many people get it wrong and cut their fluid intake, but unless your intake exceeds your output, you can become dangerously dehydrated – I know, I’ve been there. It was part of what put me in hospital in April.

Even slight to moderate dehydration can cause you to feel unwell, as well as causing a degree of intellectual impairment, something those of us already impaired by brainfog and painfog really don’t need.

Yesterday, I got a urine colour chart (it came with my Hydrant hydration kit – see previous post), which showed that I was still dehydrated. I immediately addressed that simply by drinking more water. My pee lightened in colour and, today I actually feel well for the first time in god knows when (to clarify, well, in a spoonie’s  world, doesn’t mean what it does to a normally fit person!).

There’s no shortage of  urine colour charts online – this is a simple and clear one. Of course, if the colour rendering of your monitor is off  (and very many are, though modern monitors are generally more accurate than CRT straight out of the box), or you’re at all colour blind, then it’s useless and you’ll be better off taking a sample along to your GP.

However, as long as you bear in mind that lighter is better, you can probably get by – somewhere between the colour of water and lemon juice is about right. It should go without saying that if there is any sign of blood, or cloudiness, you should seek medical advice immediately. Be aware, though, that a B-complex supplement will turn your pee bright yellow, beetroot can turn it blood red, and asparagus, green. Other foods and supplements can complicate things too – those are just the three I’ve experienced personally, and the beetroot scared the crap out of me.

Tip: Measure your pee output over an entire day occasionally** – and make sure you drink more than you put out. Tea and coffee don’t count, nor does cola, as caffeine is a diuretic (and so is beer!). Stick to plain water and you won’t go wrong. Yes, I know it’s boring – so is kidney failure and death, so deal with it.

**And if you have leaking Lymphoedema, weigh your soaked dressings when they’re changed – 1kg = 1 litre. The weight of the absorbent dressing pads is negligible. If you leak so badly you leave puddles wherever you go, you’ll have  to factor that in somehow too.

Add that to your pee output – in my case, at its peak, it was 4 or 5 litres of pee, and 3 litres of lymphatic fluid from my right leg every 24 hours, so I had to drink more than that! Not easy, which is how I became dangerously dehydrated.

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3 thoughts on “Are you adequately hydrated?

  1. Thanks Ron – I need constant reminders about this. I visited the doc recently and she pinched my hands and told me I was dehydrated without any colour chart! I drink loads of tea which she told me was the worst thing of all. I still drink the tea, but have a glass of water before it (while its cooling a bit). I’ve also heard that most (normal) headaches are due to dehydration?

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