Education: Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month, and I think one of the best nutritional goals for all of us is to assure we stay well hydrated. You might be surprised to find out just how much influence water has on your health, especially when battling a chronic illness!

Hydration- Physical and Cognitive Benefits

Did you know that being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills?

Here are some additional tips from a previous program on hydration by Sara Beno-Chambers, FNP-BC, MSN, MSCN from Aurora BayCare Medical Center Neurology Clinic and Carrie Taicher RDN, CD from Aurora BayCare Sports Medicine.

  • Water IS a nutrient!
  • Some PD medications can raise the risk for dehydration
  • Can lead to confusion, weakness, balance problems, and respiratory or kidney failure
  • Water dissolves the nutrients and vitamins we need
  • Water helps lubricate joints
    • Bradykinesia is often seen in PD. Don’t make it any harder on yourself by having joints that are hard to move
  • Water helps to reduce constipation
  • Thirst sensation is reduced as we age
    • Puts you in a state of prolonged dehydration
      • Allows bacteria to grow in bladder & urinary tract leading to infection
  • Large glass cranberry juice daily with close to 8 glasses of water per day is IDEAL
    • Cranberries make it difficult for bacteria to adhere to walls of bladder & urinary tract
    • Bacteria then flushed out by urine
  • Dry mouth
    • Makes it difficult to swallow food
    • Without saliva bacteria more likely to grow
      • Tooth decay
      • Bad breath
  • Thick saliva
    • Harder to swallow food because it’s so thick
  • Dry eyes
    • Side effects of PD medications
      • Anticholinergics such as Cogentin or Artane
    • Blink reflex is reduced thus less rewetting of eyes
    • Consider artificial tears
  • Aim for at least 8 glasses of water/day
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of dehydration:
    • Fatigue
    • Dry mouth and tongue
    • Dizziness
    • Brain fog
    • Sunken eyes
    • Difficulty swallowing liquids
    • Dark urine