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Senior Correspondent

Hydration, Indigestion and More

Hydration, Indigestion and More


Q. How much water should I drink every day?

First, water intake is a health issue that you should discuss with your doctor before deciding how much you should drink. The amount you drink is dependent upon the state of your health.

The simplest answer I could find to this very complicated question is this: If you aren’t thirsty and you produce one to two quarts of light yellow urine daily—the average output for an adult—you’re probably taking in enough water. 

If you are concerned about your water intake, remember that you get water from more than just straight water. About 80 percent of your total water intake is from all beverages, which includes soda, coffee and beer. You get the remaining 20 percent from food.

The Institute of Medicine, a component of the National Academy of Sciences, advises men to consume more than three quarts of beverages daily. The IOM recommends that women consume more than two quarts of total beverages a day.

These guidelines are designed for normal health, activity and weather.

Q. What is Dupuytren’s contracture?

At its worst, Dupuytren’s Contracture can turn a hand into a claw because the fascia—the connective bands of tissue inside the palms—shrink and make the fingers curl inward. The condition, in its milder form, creates small lumps or bands. Dupuytren's Contracture isn’t usually painful.

Dupuytren’s is more common in older adults, men and whites from northern European background. The late President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher both suffered from Dupuytren’s.

This condition is hereditary. And it may be linked to alcoholism, diabetes, epilepsy and smoking.

It is rare for Dupuytren’s to affect the thumb and forefinger. Usually, the ring finger and pinky feel the results. Sometimes, the middle finger may be involved. Dupuytren’s Contracture often affects both hands, but usually not equally.

Q. What causes indigestion?

Indigestion, or an upset stomach, is a general term for discomfort in your upper abdomen. This discomfort can take the form of burning stomach pain, nausea, heartburn, bloating, burping and vomiting.

We all get indigestion occasionally; about one in four of us gets an upset stomach at some time. But, if you are suffering from this condition regularly, you should see a doctor. Indigestion—also known as “dyspepsia”—can be the result of something more serious than stuffing down a hot dog on-the-run.

Indigestion can be a symptom of acid reflux disease, an ulcer, gallbladder disease or appendicitis. It can also be a warning sign for stomach cancer, although this is rare. Some medicines can give you indigestion. Occasionally, persistent indigestion is caused by a problem in the way food moves through the digestive tract. 

One of the best tips I have found to determine what causes occasional indigestion is keeping a diary of the foods you eat. A friend of mine tried this. By analyzing what he ate and how he reacted, he figured out that he was lactose intolerant. 

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