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June 7, 2021 • 3 min read

Hydration: Essential to Your Body

hydration essentials image showing a woman drinking full thermos of water, for joint efforts at 1411 doctors office in covington la

Dana Cohen, MD, author of Quench, a book showing the connection between dehydration and its role in chronic illnesses believes that staying hydrated is “the single most important thing we can do to treat and prevent chronic illness.”

Dana Cohen, MD, Tweet

Over the course of a day at joint efforts at 1411, I find myself telling nearly every patient about the importance of hydration. Many of their symptoms — afternoon headaches, fatigue, brain fog, crankiness, etc — can be minimized or completely solved solely by managing hydration. This motivated me to learn about other benefits of hydration as well as methods to hydrate most efficiently. In my research, I came across the work of Dr. Dana Cohen MD, author of “Quench,” a book based on groundbreaking science from the University of Washington’s Pollack Water Lab.


Her book highlights not only the benefits of appropriate hydration that I discussed above but also new research that reveals that even low-grade subclinical dehydration is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, most notably diabetes. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to hydrate without flushing your body of vital nutrients.

Why is hydration so often overlooked?

While there are various physical exam maneuvers and lab tests available to assess for acute and severe, organ-damaging hydration, there are fortunately no options like this to test for the low-grade hydration that most of us experience regularly. The signs and symptoms are there though–we just need to become more attuned to our bodies.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

We often experience symptoms of dehydration and either don’t pay attention to them or associate them with something else entirely. For instance, poor hydration can cause afternoon fatigue, a symptom many of us attribute to a drop in blood sugar. The next time you feel tired, reach for a glass of water instead of a carby snack from the vending machine or break room. Low-grade dehydration also causes muscle aches and cramps, headaches, and constipation. Although everyone is different, when properly hydrated, you should be urinating every 2 to 3 hours during the day and that urine should be straw-colored or pale yellow.

hydration essentials image showing a woman drinking full glass of water, for joint efforts at 1411 doctors office in covington la

How much water should I drink?

Unfortunately, the amount of water you should drink is impossible to answer, and the old “8 glasses of water a day” rule is not based on research. How can we say that a 100-pound, sedentary person and a 200-pound muscular athlete both require the same fluid intake to fuel their bodies? Instead, we must take inventory of our bodies and lifestyles, paying close attention to the factors that affect hydration: how much we exercise and sweat, how much we weigh, our amount of muscle mass, the foods we eat, the medications we take and the environments in which we work and live. Using these factors, we can use the general rule of “drink half your weight in ounces” and add or subtract from there.

Use this simple water consumption calculator to determine the amount of water you should drink per day.

*While staying hydrated and drinking more water is a healthy practice, this calculator is not intended as medical advice. Consult your physician before making dietary changes.

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After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at LSU, Dr. Jason Patel moved to Covington, Louisiana with his wife, Dr. Savannah Patel. Rated as one of the best internal medicine and primary care doctors in Covington, Dr. Patel specializes in chronic disease management such as COPD, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depresion and other diseases.

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