10 tips to treat thirst during fasting Ramadan

The heart, kidneys and muscles need to drink appropriate amounts of water to function well during fasting.

Dr. Shelby Agarwal, a family medicine specialist in Washington, D.C., says, "Hydration is important because our bodies work best with adequate water balance."

As for dehydration, Dr. Malina Malkani from New York says that if dehydration is not treated, severe cases of it may lead to problems such as difficulty breathing, increased body temperature, poor blood circulation and seizures. According to Harvard Medical School, dehydration can generally contribute to urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

Here are the experts who explain the difference between hydration, feeling thirsty and dehydrated and some important facts to avoid any trouble during fasting:

1. Thirst does not mean dehydration
Dr. Ginger Holten of Seattle and author of Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep says thirst cannot be considered an indication that there is dehydration, because "everyone needs to assess whether this is really true for them, because there are so many reasons why a person feels thirsty. "It's not always 100 percent dehydrated," says Holten, "as it is possible, for example, that something as simple as spicy food can cause you to feel thirstier than usual. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a sharp increase in thirst can be a sign of a health problem such as diabetes. It can be a side effect of a medication being taken and some medications even cause dry mouth without causing dehydration itself.

2. Dark yellow urine color
Dr. Boltin adds that the examination of "urine color can be a good indicator of hydration status," noting that the eight-level urine color chart determines the color of urine from light yellow to dark yellow or brown, according to what was published by the US Army Public Health Command, and despite the different nature of each person's body, the four light colors indicate that the person is eating appropriate amounts of water, and the four dark It can mean he's dehydrated, but Dr. Holtin warns that urine is getting colored brown and urgent medical attention should be urgently sought because it can mean severe dehydration.

3. Risks of overhydrating
Some people drink too much water, and Dr. Holtin says that "there is a condition called hyponatremia, and it occurs when the concentration of sodium in the body drops – a very low electrolyte that can actually lead to enlargement of cells in the body, a life-threatening condition."

According to the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, while anyone can develop hyponatremia (so-called water toxicity), some are at higher risk, including patients with kidney failure, congestive heart failure, liver dysfunction, chronic severe vomiting or diarrhea, Addison's disease, and people taking certain medications, such as antidepressants and diuretics. Research has shown that athletes who practice endurance sports may also be at risk of hyponatremia.

4. Risks of severe
dehydration The good news, according to Dr. Malkani, is that if a person does not have one of these risk factors or conditions, there is nothing to worry about, as "for most healthy people, overhydration is not a serious concern, because the kidneys are able to excrete any excess fluids to maintain water and electrolyte balance."
MedlinePlus explains that severe hyponatremia symptoms include cramps, confusion, fatigue, headache, nausea and muscle weakness, which need to see a doctor.

"Dehydration is very dangerous for children, pregnant women and some elderly people, especially if someone from these groups is sick with fever, vomiting or diarrhoea, so they need medical attention urgently to assess their hydration status," Holtin said.

5. Pregnant women, children and the elderly
According to the Mayo Clinic, severe vomiting and diarrhea are often the main cause of dehydration in children. Meanwhile, older adults can have less water in the body, and certain medications and conditions can make things worse. For pregnant women, severe morning sickness, known as gravidaral vomiting, can cause vomiting and lead to dehydration.

6. Multiple sources of water Dr. Malkani explains that getting water
in the body is not limited to fluid intake, noting that "while about 80% of our water intake comes from fluids, about 20% of it comes from watery foods such as juicy fruits and vegetables." For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, watermelon and spinach contain nearly 100% water by weight. Other moisturizing foods include cucumber, celery, radish, watercress, grapefruit, melon and strawberries, Dr. Malkani adds.

7. Foods that cause thirst "On the other hand, salty foods and foods rich in sodium cause dehydration because when salt is absorbed and begins to circulate in the blood, the body responds by drawing water from the body's cells to create the necessary balance which leads to increased thirst," Dr. Malkani
points out.

8. Lack of sleep causes dehydration A study, published in February 2019 in the journal Sleep, found that people who sleep six hours each night experience more dehydration
than those who sleep eight hours regularly. Scientists point to the disorder of vasopressin, a hormone released at night that helps the body maintain a hydrated state.

9. Number of glasses of water per day About how many glasses of water are appropriate to drink per day
, Dr. Holtin says that "there is a range of things that a person needs, which depends on many factors, including physical activity, diet and the environment in which he lives, among other factors," such as underlying health conditions, gender, age and whether a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.
The latest guidelines from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommend drinking 15 glasses of fluids for men and about 11 glasses of fluids for women daily.

10. Thirst, hunger and weight
loss While experts emphasize the risk of dehydration and that thirst is one of the signs of dehydration, drinking too much water is not a sure solution, as it may require urgent emergency aid with an intravenous fluid injection, as an initial measure. The Cleveland Clinic website also notes that in mild dehydration, a drink containing electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium can be beneficial, especially if a person sweats, vomits, or has diarrhea, resulting in the loss of electrolytes also needed to maintain proper blood pressure.

Dr. Agarwal cautions that sometimes there is confusion where a person can mistake hunger for thirst, and a person may think that he is hungry while the body is thirsty and needs to eat water to balance and help its organs function.

Finally, experts advise drinking water before you start eating because it helps in weight loss, if the person aims to maintain an appropriate weight.