23rd Nov 2017

Sometimes you have to be your own medical detective

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Unexpected cure for a headache
Janelle Ward

When Scott turned 50, funny things started happening. Well, they weren’t actually funny. One was worrying, the other annoying. 

He started getting headaches and cramps in his legs, always at night. 

The headaches had him so worried that he took himself off to an ear, nose and throat specialist. There were no insights there so he went to an acupuncturist, who stuck needles in various parts of his head. No relief there, either. 

He had a brain scan next. Nothing to see there – apart from the obvious. 



He started to do some thinking for himself. A smart meter had been installed in his power box, which was on the other side of a timber wall directly behind his head as he lay in bed. He’d read about smart meter emissions and radiation, and wondered if it was the culprit. 

Shifting the meter would cost thousands of dollars, so he did some research and put Alfoil on the back of the bed head, figuring that might deflect the emissions. 

No relief. But there was about to be a light bulb moment. A chat with a sports doctor at the local football club raised the issue of hydration – how much we should drink in a day and the repercussions if we don’t, such as headaches and cramps. 

Scott started drinking more water and, hey presto, the headaches and cramps disappeared within days. 

Do consult your doctor if you suffer from headaches, but it’s also worth checking your fluid intake. 

How much should you be drinking, especially during hot and humid summer days? 

You may have heard that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day, but that depends on a range of factors including sex, weight, physical activity, diet and the climate.

 

A general recommendation is an intake of 35 millilitres of fluid per kilogram of bodyweight; this includes fruit juice, tea/coffee and milk as well as fluids contained in the food you eat.  The Government’s betterhealth channel provides a comprehensive table of intake requirements.  The key, however, is to drink often - don’t wait until you’re thirsty. 

The average adult will get about 20 per cent of his/her hydration needs through foods and there is a smorgasbord of summer fruits including melons, cucumbers, stone fruits, berries and lettuce loaded with fluid – and nutrients. 

Stay alert to the warning signs that you may be getting dehydrated: a dry mouth, headache and dizziness.

Also take note of the colour of your urine – a strong yellow could indicate you should be drinking more, colourless urine and you may be drinking too much – and how frequently you go to the toilet. 

Do you have any advice on hydration?

  

Related articles:
Can you drink too much water?
The dangers of dehydration
Which is healthier: tea or coffee?





COMMENTS

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Tib
27th Nov 2017
2:01pm
I've read that as we get older we don't identify thirst as as we did and we quite often identify it as hunger. I worked in a very hot area I've had problems with kidney stones headaches and bladder problems. Doctors don't identify the problem as you not drinking enough they just treat the results. I now drink 750 mls of water every morning and I drink water with my meals and I watch the colour of my urine. By the way it also helps with constipation. Like Scott I had to work this out for myself. I read about a group in china drinking water as I do in the morning for the health benefits and I started doing it years ago the body adjusts quickly and it works for me.
Tib
27th Nov 2017
2:22pm
For those of you with interstitial cystitis I believe not drinking enough water is the cause of this problem in many people.
Evan Gelist
27th Nov 2017
3:03pm
I agree with Tib. Many people only drink when they feel thirsty. This works when you’re young, but older people lose their sensation of thirst. Many older people are dehydrated but don’t know it. Then they get dizzy, may pass out, have a fall, possibly breaking a limb. They are taken to hospital, put on a drip to re-hydrate them, and if no other damage has been done they’re sent home to repeat the process! Older people must learn to drink a suitable amount of water every day - much better than the risks of passing-out or breaking a bone or joint. Much cheaper too! De-hydration is not just a shortage of fluid, but also a shortage of salt. Shortage of salt causes cramps. This is why hospitals administer a saline (salt) drip, rather than simply giving you a glass of water. There are sodium salts (common salt), magnesium salts, and potassium salts, etc. A doctor can advise on your situation, but I take magnesium tablets and drink plenty of water to avoid headaches and cramps.
Tib
27th Nov 2017
3:13pm
You can get salt replacement drinks but you need to be careful without enough water they can cause stones.
Knows-a-lot
27th Nov 2017
3:21pm
For people like me with end-stage renal failure, the opposite of the advice given here is true. I'm on fluid restrictions, because I barely urinate any more. If I drink too much, I'm in big trouble medically: anaemia, oedema (particularly pericardial) - the latter of which can kill.


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