An idyllic setting and a little reprieve from the sun made for a perfect
Walk with a Doc on Saturday, Aug. 10 at Harlow Platts Park. Conditions
were a bit overcast and temperatures were slightly below normal, but the
weather was fitting for the walk’s theme – Staying Hydrated
for Better Health.
Walking is a great way to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, manage
weight, elevate your mood, and reduce your risk for osteoporosis, cancer
and diabetes. Exercise of any kind though can create dehydration –
if fluids aren’t replenished properly.
Dr. Jeff Carter, BCH hospitalist, talked to the Walk with a Doc participants about symptoms
of dehydration and what to be aware of when exercising or being outdoors.
“Thirst is this really important thing. If you’re not thirsty,
you’re probably not dehydrated,” Carter said.
Symptoms of dehydration can start at two percent and include weakness,
fatigue, dry skin, chills or feeling lightheaded when standing up, he said.
“At five percent, you might see a faster heart rate, decreased sweat,
not urinating, cramps, headache or nausea,” Carter said. “If
you take blood pressure medications or diuretics, these things can interfere
with our body’s ability to respond to dehydration.”
People who take diuretics lose more salt in their urine, which can increase
the risk of low blood sodium. As a hospitalist, Carter said he sees more
cases of low blood sodium than profound dehydration. Symptoms of low sodium
in the blood can range from a mild problem – confusion, weakness
or not feeling your best – to seizures, coma and even death –
although that is uncommon.
How much water do you need?
Based on activity level, Carter advises people to drink between 1.5 and
four liters of water daily, with 2.7 liters for females and 3.7 for males.
Fruits and vegetables in your diet can also provide an additional benefit,
since 20 percent of water intake comes from food.
While the cure for dehydration is replenishing sodium, and drinking water
or other fluids, Carter is quick to point out that there is no benefit
“There is potential harm. I think there is this notion – maybe
more prevalent in Boulder - that drinking lots of water is a helpful thing
to do and it flushes out toxins. That’s just not true,” Carter said.
How do you know if you’re dehydrated?
If you are not thirsty and your urine is not dark, you are hydrated, Carter
says. Your kidneys, along with your liver, are working properly and your
body is getting rid of what isn’t needed. The number one thing to
be aware of with dehydration is gastrointestinal illnesses, Carter said.
“If you have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, drink enough fluids,”
Carter said. “If you are on blood pressure medications and diuretics,
you will have worsening symptoms because these types of medicines interfere
with your body’s ability to (deal with losing water). Keep an eye
on your weight and call your doctor.”
Next Walk with a Doc
Thank you to Dr. Carter;
Dr. Nelson Trujillo, WWAD’s lead physician and board-certified cardiologist at Boulder
Community Health; program coordinator Gina Simmering; the BCH Foundation;
and all of our sponsors for making these great and healthy walks possible,
including: the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation, Wallaroo Hat Company,
Bobo’s Oat Bars, Cedar & Hyde Mercantile, Eldorado Natural Spring
Water, AMR – Boulder County City of Boulder and Longmont, Natural
Grocers, SomaLogic, Parc Mosaic Apartment Homes, Embassy Suites Boulder,
SALT Bistro, Elements Massage, Pedestrian Shops, Boston Scientific &
Join us for our next Walk with a Doc on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Tom Watson
Park/Coot Lake (6180 63rd Street in Boulder) from 8-9 a.m. Dr. Karin Vanbaak, of the CU Sports Medicine
and Performance Center, will talk about “Walking & Bone Strength.”
Don’t forget that at each Walk with a Doc:
• BCH’s Clinical Education team will demonstrate “hands-only”
CPR techniques you can learn in just minutes!
• BCH pharmacists will be on hand to answer your medication-related
• There are free blood pressure checks, free giveaways and free refreshments
(including coffee from Starbucks).
For a full list of walks and more details, go to