Water is essential and we all need to stay hydrated, but if you are living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) the need is even higher. Consuming enough fluids is especially critical for maintaining joints and keeping your symptoms at bay.
How dehydration affects someone with RA?
Although research on the exact relationship between dehydration and RA is limited, scientists have found that water consumption can affect the processes that keep joints working.
In fact, staying hydrated is important for flushing toxins from your body, which may lessen inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Have you ever tried using a dried-out sponge and found that it is difficult to use as opposed to when it’s wet, soft and easy to manipulate? The cartilage is no different.
What’s more, when we’re dehydrated, our bodies may not produce enough synovial fluid — a thick liquid located between joints that acts as a cushion and helps prevent friction when you move. “Water is a major component of synovial fluid, so maintaining adequate hydration may help keep joints healthy,” says Betty Hsiao, MD, a rheumatologist at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
How to tell if you are dehydrated
The amount of water you should consume generally depends on your gender, age, and how active you are. Additionally, certain medicines may also play a role in how much water you should be consuming.
Although there are no hydration guidelines specifically for people with RA, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggests the following:
- Adult men should consume 3.7 liters (L), or about 16 cups, of water a day
- Adult women should consume 2.7 L (about 11 cups) of water a day
The total daily water consumption in these recommendations can come from both beverages and foods.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs and symptoms of dehydration to watch out for include: