Dehydration is the cause of numerous health issues – from headaches and constipation to blood pressure and kidney problems. But it’s a lesser known fact that it can exacerbate or even cause joint pain. If you suffer from joint problems or autoimmune diseases like arthritis, chances are you’ll be on prescribed medication from your GP. Whether this is working or not, there is one thing that can directly impact the health of our joints and our sensitivity to joint pain – water!
Joint pain can be uncomfortable at any stage of life, but particularly in the elderly when bones are more frail and hydrating our joints becomes more of a challenge. Joint supplements can certainly help but in order to work effectively they need to be supported by good hydration habits. If you suffer from arthritis, gout or joint pain of any description, drinking more water can help your condition for a number of reasons:
- Water helps to flush toxins out of the body which consequently helps to fight inflammation
- It helps keep the joints well lubricated and prevent gout attacks
- Water stimulates the production of synovial fluid (produced in the spaces between joints to help reduce friction and facilitate movement)
- It encourages the growth of new cells in the cartilage tissues & carries nutrients to the joints
- Good hydration helps to alleviate other unpleasant symptoms that come with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, including constipation and dizziness
- Water supports circulation and the immune system, producing the necessary chemicals to promote a quick recovery
Osteoarthritis (probably one of the most common forms of joint pain that’s generally felt in the hips and the knees) can be very painful and can strike at any age depending on our genes, age and lifestyle habits. Obesity can increase our risk of developing osteoarthritis in which case, a good exercise and weight loss program can help to relieve joint pressure and reduce friction. Drinking plenty of water can aid the process by increasing our blood circulation during exercise and supporting the formation of stronger tissues cells in the cartilage.
Increased hydration can also help those who suffer from gout – a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood stream which form crystals in the joints. The kidneys need water to help flush out the uric acid so it’s easy to see how dehydration can exacerbate gout. Increasing your water intake to the recommended 6-8 glasses a day is key to reducing gout attacks and preventing related health problems like kidney stones.
Healthy hydration habits for healthy joints
- Always have a glass of water to hand and drink fluids little and often
- Monitor your urine colour – if it’s dark with a strong smell you need to increase your water intake.
- If you’re caring for an older person who is suffering from arthritis or joint pain, help them to drink regularly by introducing Droplet to support them to drink voluntarily.
- Drink little and often and make drinking water a priority, not an afterthought!
- Eat unprocessed, fresh foods with a high water content like fruits and salad/vegetables (cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes)
- Avoid drinks that have a diuretic effect like coffee, alcohol and protein-rich fluids – all of which can increase dehydration.
How can Droplet help?
Sometimes people don’t have a sense of how much they are drinking therefore Droplet can help the person (and their carer) identify when it’s time to take a drink.
Droplet alerts the user it they have not drunk for some time and uses subtle flashing lights and recorded audio messages to remind the person to take a drink. Entirely customisable, it is designed in the familiar shape of the mugs and cups we use at home, making it recognisable and more enjoyable to drink from than the ‘baby beaker’ style cups often used in care homes and hospitals.
The Droplet smart reminder base has been designed to allow loved ones and carers to record positive messages that gently encourage the user to drink. As well as benefitting the user, it also alerts the carer so they can monitor hydration levels and patterns in patients whilst spotting the signs of potential dehydration early on.
The general information provided above is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please consult your GP.