Monday, July 16, 2012

Dehydration and It's Effects on The Muscles of Someone With Dystonia

I found this blog by Robin Wood, who suffers from Dystonia. I thought it was worth posting.

Lets Talk Muscles ~ Looking Beyond The Brain

Posted by Robin Wood on June 30, 2008 at 10:01am

The earth is composed of over 100 elements, the most abundant of which is oxygen. Oxygen is essential to the survival of all living matter. Take away our supply of oxygen for just 4 minutes and death is almost assured.
A spasming muscle prevents blood flow; when the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen. In an athlete, a lack of oxygen to an over worked muscle will severely hamper performance by causing an increase in lactic acid in the muscles and a loss of overall energy causing them not to perform well. In a Dystonian, the loss of energy from sustained spasms causes fatigue, fatigue brings Dystonia and thus you have a vicious never ending cycle.
Without sufficient oxygen, your muscles will reduce glucose into lactate and release hydrogen ions into the muscles which then leads to pain, soreness, burning sensation and fatigue. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue. Ischemia means the muscle is lacking proper blood flow. Blood flow is essential in removing lactic acid from the muscles which is secreated into the blood flow.
Often times Dystonia causes muscles to go into sustained spasms for extended periods of time, ie: days, weeks, months. Dystonia can also effect any muscle or muscle group. For many relief of spasms is obtained thru medication, botox and DBS, however for every 3 that are treatable, 1 is not.
Water and Muscle
Water is the body's primary component. In order to move muscle, you need water. Muscle is considered an active tissue and water is found in the highest concentrations in active tissue.
Muscles are controlled by nerves. The electrical stimulation of nerves and contraction of muscles are the result of the exchange of electrolyte minerals dissolved in water. When You are dehydrated Your muscles are deprived of electrolytes. Blood flow to working muscles is also significantly reduced with dehydration.
Without enough water, your muscles are not getting enough electrolytes. Muscle strength and control are weakened.
Water also helps out with the lubrication of your joints. Water is an ingredient in the makeup of the synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid between your joints. Joints that spasming muscles can put strain and stress on.
Water and Hydration
You've more than likely heard this before ... you can live for days, weeks, and even months without food, but 2 to 3 days without water could kill you. In Arizona, it's more like 2 to 3 HOURS without water could kill you! OK, a bit of an exaggeration (unless a person started out dehydrated and exercised in the heat for 2 or 3 hours in which case heat exhaustion and death could be very real outcomes) but I would bet money that a majority of people reading this right now are not properly hydrated. Especially in Arizona, people tend to walk around in a constant state of dehydration.
What is hydration / dehydration ? Not an easy question, because it will diffesr from person to person. I tend to think of hydration status on a continuum, with people usually falling somewhere in between. On the average, water makes up 60 - 70% of your body weight. The range is due to the fact that different cells contain different amounts of water. Muscle cells, for example, are 70-75% water whereas fat cells are only 10-15% water. Therefore, a muscular person will have a larger percentage of his/her body weight coming from water.
Dehydration is usually expressed as the loss of a certain percentage of one's weight. Scientists define dehydration as fluid losses greater than only 1% of body weight. Water is lost first from the blood which is 90% water. If water deprivation continues, cells will start to lose their water content. Dehydration can become fatal when 9-12% of your body weight is lost via water.
Being properly hydrated is important; in saliva and stomach secretions it helps to digest food. In blood, it helps transport nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body. In body fluids, it helps lubricate joints and cushions organs and tissues. In urine, it carries waste products out of the body. In sweat, it removes body heat generated during exercise
Drinking plenty of water is also important for healthy skin. Another interesting fact: sometimes our body confuses a thirst signal for a hunger signal, which is why drinking a glass of water before a meal or snack is a common weight management tip.
Our bodies are constantly losing water. The most obvious way is through daily urine output. If you exercise, you sweat. Studies of athletes have shown sweat losses of 2 quarts per hour while exercising! Most of us will lose less than that on our daily walk/run, but sweating is still a large source of water loss. Even when not exercising we are losing water through our skin - this is called 'insensible losses'. Other insensible losses are through respiration and feces.
Another reason we have a hard time staying hydrated is that our thirst mechanism has a sort of lag time. Once we are thirsty, our bodies have already reached the point of moderate dehydration, and it becomes more difficult to replenish the fluids to the point of hydration. It takes 24 to 36 hours for your body to fully rehydrate from low hydration levels. You are not hydrated until fluids are absorbed into your body tissue.
The best way to tell if you're hydrated is to monitor your urine. You should be urinating a significant amount regularly (3-4 times) throughout the day. If your urine is pale yellow or clear in color you are drinking enough. If it is dark yellow and odorous, get a big glass of water and start guzzling! Keep in mind that a vitamin pill will also make your urine dark - so it is possible to have dark urine and still be hydrated.
The first sign of dehydration is thirst. Other signs of moderate dehydration are low grade headache and fatigue. Severe dehydration is accompanied by nausea, chills, increased heart rate, inability to sweat, and lightheadedness. At this point, medical attention is warranted.
How much water You need again, it depends on who you are. A rule of thumb that you may have heard is no less than 64 oz. per day. That's about 8 glasses of water per day if you prefer to think of it that way. This amount would probably be adequate for someone who lived in a temperate climate and was totally sedentary. When you add exercise and hot weather, your fluid needs increase significantly. It would be a good idea to add at least two more cups if you live in an intemperate climate.
Water needs are also related to how many calories you burn daily. You need about 1 ml of water for every calorie you burn. So, if you're very active and burn 3000-4000 calories per day, you would need 3-4 liters of water (13-17 cups)! Another rule of thumb: if you exercise, weigh yourself before and after your workout. For every pound lost, drink at least 2 cups or 16 oz. of water. It's also a good idea to get 1-2 cups of fluid 15-30 minutes before you workout.
It is very important that you keep your body well hydrated. Even a small, temporary shortage of water can impair your body's functions
In addition to drinking plenty of water, adequate salt intake is needed for proper hydration. Salt, a natural anti-histamine, keeps water from being excreted and balances the intracellular and extracellular 'oceans' within us. Salt is also necessary for extracting excess acidity (in the form of hydrogen ions, oxidants from ATP production) from cells. In addition, salt is used by the body to balance blood sugar levels, to clear mucus and phlegm from the lungs, to aid absorption from the intestinal tract, to support nerve cell activity, and to strengthen bones.
Signs of Dehydration
Loss of Appetite
Dry Skin
Skin Flushing
Dark Colored Urine
Dry Mouth
Fatique or Weakness
Head Rushes
If the dehydration is allowed to continue unabated, when the total fluid loss reaches 5% the following effects of dehydration are normally experienced:
Increased heart rate
Increased respiration
Decreased sweating
Decreased urination
Increased body temperature
Extreme fatigue
Muscle cramps
Tingling of the limbs
When the body reaches 10% fluid loss emergency help is needed IMMEDIATELY! 10% fluid loss and above is often fatal! Symptoms of severe dehydration include:
Muscle spasms (as if Dystonian's don't already have enough of this going on)
Racing pulse
Shriveled skin
Dim vision
Painful urination
Difficulty breathing
Chest and Abdominal pain

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