05 June 2007

Törstig Tisdag

Thirsty Tuesday

I am indulging a bit in my neurotic tendency to be a hypochondriac. Here's a silly thing. I'm worried about the amount of water I drink every day, which has increased dramatically since I started running at least a mile six days a week.

I do know that the thirst and the exercise are directly related. When I was in California around Mother's Day, I was active, but not as much as I am at home. By the 3rd day away from my usual routine, I wasn't as desperately thirsty. But I wasn't not thirsty either.

I've always been a water drinker, rather than soda or other things. The first time I visited Europe, at 14 years old, I was appalled at how expensive a can of Coca-Cola was, and stuck with water in order to be able to buy other things. Very important things. Like Sangria.

With the rise in bottled water being sold in this country, and an increased awareness that not only is soda a diuretic, but also in the awareness that the sugar in soda contributes to our expanding national waistlines, I don't ever have trouble anymore when all I want is some water. Used to be I got odd looks in stores when I asked for bottled water. Every single gas station, convenience store, even sometimes upscale department stores, sells bottled water now. We have a water cooler at home, and go through about 8 of the 5 gallon bottles every month, but I also buy bottled water by the case from a warehouse club for when we want water that's more portable.

I suppose it is very silly to purchase water when it can be had from the tap for much cheaper, but the taste and lack of chemicals in bottled water appeal to me. You have to read the labels of bottled water carefully; I remember finding gallon jugs in the grocery store once which flatly stated in tiny print: Source: City of Columbus water supply. Yuk.

The cases of water that I buy have 32 bottles, each containing 16.9 ounces of water. I drink one at the gym every morning while walking/running. Another on my way home from the gym. A third when I get to my office. A fourth usually before 10 AM. A fifth, and sometimes a sixth, with my lunch. Sometimes even a seventh on the way home from work, and then at least two or three 16 ounce glasses of water from the water cooler with dinner and while I'm online. That's a grand total, every day, of a little more than a gallon. It seems like a lot to me. A whole lot. An excessive amount.

The last time I was in Dr. H's office, I complained to him about it, wondering if my allergy pill was contributing to that problem, making me thirsty. No, he didn't think so. Well, what about my family history of Type 2 diabetes? Excessive thirst can be a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes. If you read this blog all the time, you know that becoming an insulin-dependent diabetic is one of my greatest fears, second only to the fear that abortion could be outlawed.

Dr. H rolled his eyes when I asked about diabetes again.

To reassure me, he flipped open my chart and showed me the lab results from the last time I had blood work done. Normal range for my glucose levels. "You know you're paranoid about this, right?," he asked me, exasperated. "I mean, if you want, we can do a finger-stick test right now, but really, you're NOT diabetic. And I'm going to start charging you for those, because I think that's the only way you're going to stop requesting them every time you come in here."

"All right, I know I'm overly worried about diabetes." I responded. "But I'm thirsty ALL THE TIME, that's not really a good thing, is it?"

"Luce, if you're thirsty, drink more water. But for chrissakes, quit worrying about it." He rolled his eyes again.

His advice is seldom bad, so I've tried. Lest you think he was too abrupt with me in the above exchange, he's someone I've known for a very long time, I knew him before he was a doctor, so a bit of back and forth harassment goes on every time I see him. But when I say I'm thirsty all time, I mean ALL THE DAMN TIME. It is this odd little tickle in my throat, and when I drink water to get rid of it, it reminds me of when you water plants that you've neglected, where the soil soaks it in hungrily. For a short while, that parched feeling dissipates. But not for very long. I'm talking a space of a few minutes.

On the Sunday before Memorial Day, DH and I trekked part of the way across Oh-hi-ia for a family gathering. We stopped for gas just outside our city, and I got out of the car to get some water for the ride, having forgotten to grab a few bottles from home. DH said, "Hon, there's already a bottle in the car. I brought it for myself, but you can have it."

Um, thanks, but it wouldn't be enough. I bought two one litre bottles and drank one entire litre before we got to our destination, which took roughly an hour. While at our destination, I drank 2 more bottles provided by our hosts, which were 32 ounces each. We were there for about 5 hours, so I'm not guzzling the stuff, but still. Then I drank the second litre on the way home. Doesn't that seem like a lot of water?

Sure, being hydrated is a good thing. But there's also too much of a good thing; have you ever heard of water intoxication? First time I ever heard that phrase, I thought that it sounded like fun. Intoxicated on water. Turns out not so much, really. You can die. You would need to drink something like three gallons of water over a very short period of time, but it is worrisome.

I've been trying to dig up some research to see just how much water I really should be drinking every day and if I ought to be concerned about this thirst, and of course I'm not turning up things that are helpful. I could have psychogenic polydipsia, although I seriously doubt it. Yeah, I'm nuts, but psychogenic polydipsia is usually not seen outside the population of those with serious mental disorders says Wiki.

Then there's Diabetes Insipidus. (the diabetes that I'm worried about, type 2, is Diabetes mellitus.) DI is about loss of kidney function, also worrisome, but unlikely, because lemme tell ya, my kidneys? Working just fine. One of the symptoms of DI is craving icy cold water. I do like my water cold, but if it isn't, it don't matter. I just need to quench the thirst.

About the most useful thing I've come across so far, besides Dr. Hottie's advice to just roll with it, is this article from CoolRunning.com, which just about says the same thing as Dr. H, but with some scientific facts to back them up. One hour's run can cause you to sweat more than a quart, active people need more water, you should try to drink 4-6 ounces of water every hour you're awake, yadda yadda. All good to know.

The end of the article makes some good points about alcohol consumption and running. Since this thirsty all the time thing started, I've been very cautious about any alcohol-consuming, because we all know how boozin' it up can make you dehydrated. Since I don't need any of that (I think the thirst then would KILL me) I've been skipping the hard liquor mixed drinks that I'm fond of occasionally indulging in.

But if you're looking for who took that last bottle of water? That would be me.


MotherMe said...

Alas, I, too, am becoming more and more hypochondriacal with age. Truthfully, your water consumption might be nothing, or it might be something. But, what could /would you do differently if it were something? You'd watch what you ate, you'd exercise, you'd take care of yourself... um, seems like you're already doing those things. To paraphrase a bit: Enjoy your health, don't mourn it!

One little niggle: there is (little or) no sugar in US soda. It's all got high-fructose corn syrup, which is what makes it bad.


Lucy Arin said...

Too true, sadly, about the soda. Forgot about that. There is a difference between sugar and HFCS. Unfortunately, your body processes it mostly the same way...turning it into F-A-T!

Living in the NOW has always been an issue for me...one I'm working on.

Glad you're back!