How much water should one drink in summer?

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Most agree it is an average of eight cups (consisting of eight fluid ounces) per day. However, the true amount of water intake depends upon several factors, including gender, age, level of activity, and environment.

The adequate water intake is 30 ml per kg body weight in a person with normally functioning kidneys and heart.

As an individual grows older, the need for water intake decreases slightly, but adequate water intake is still just as vital to the body’s functioning. In presence of kidney diseases excessive water intake does not help prevent kidney disease. In fact, the doctor may recommend restriction of water intake.

Sodium and intravascular volume balance are usually maintained via homeostatic mechanisms until the kidney functions fall below 10 to 15 mL/min. However, the patient with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease, despite being in relative volume balance, is less able to respond to rapid infusions of sodium and is therefore prone to fluid overload. In summer, such patients should therefore take extra salty water only after medical consultations.

On the contrary, hypovolemia (such as vomiting, diarrhea, diuretic use) may cause potentially reversible declines in renal function. These patients need excess of fluids to replenish the amount lost in vomiting or diarrhea.

Your level of activity is one of the greatest indicators of the amount of water you should drink each day. As you exercise, your body will begin to excrete more water through perspiration and require more water for proper replenishment. For a short bout of exercise (less than 30 minutes), one to two extra glasses will replenish the body. If you are exercising for longer periods of time or in warmer climates, you will likely need to drink at least three extra glasses of water per day to replace any liquid lost during the process.

Your environment also affects the amount of water you should drink. Individuals in warmer climates should drink more water to compensate for liquid lost through perspiration. Individuals who live at high altitudes may also need to drink more water, as the lack of oxygen in the air prompts more rapid breathing and a greater loss of moisture during respiration.

Everyone, regardless of their environment, should drink more water during the summer months, as the heat and extra time spent outside can result in greater liquid loss.

Rules of thumb

1. Arm pit test: the arm pit should always be wet, if dry indicated significant dehydration.

2. Urine output measure: one must pass urine once in eight hours. If not consult your doctor.

3. Know your kidney function: 14 – minus age in years multiplied by weight in Kg and divided by 74 into serum creatinine levels. If the number is less than 100, talk to your doctor for the salt and water intake amount. In females, 85% of this number should be taken into account.

4. All patients with heart and liver disorders should talk to their doctor about the fluid and salt intake measures.