Diabetes & Carb Counting For Dummies
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Up to 60 percent of an adult's body weight is water, so staying hydrated is critical to good health, especially when you have diabetes. You've probably heard that you should be drinking at least 8 cups of fluid per day. If blood-glucose levels are running above target, you may need more than that.

Why? Because when blood-glucose levels are elevated, your kidneys will try to filter out some of the excess glucose, and in doing so they will create more urine. High blood glucose leads to increased urination. Frequent trips to the restroom can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is the result of losing more fluids than you take in. Fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramping, and perhaps rapid heartbeat follow. Dry mouth, dry skin, constipation, and dark-colored urine are also signs that you may be dehydrated.

When you are well-hydrated, your urine should appear clear and pale in color. So drink up! But be aware that what you choose to drink can either help or hinder your health.

Consider the carb content of your beverage. If you are drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, regular soft drinks, frappa-yummies, or even fruit juice, you're dumping even more sugar into your system. Your blood-glucose levels will likely rise quickly, your kidneys will work overtime to try to rid your body of the excess glucose, you'll make more trips to the restroom and may end up dehydrated and thirsty . . . and around and around it goes. It's a vicious cycle, as you can see.

The cycle of dehydration.

The kidneys filter your blood just as the oil filter on your car filters the oil. It's the kidneys' job to decide what stays in the bloodstream and what gets dumped into the urine. The heart pumps blood throughout the body every minute of every day. Each trip around the track takes the blood through the kidneys for filtration. It's a well-known fact that persistently elevated blood-glucose levels can lead to long-term complications, including kidney failure. The oil filter on your car can be changed at regular intervals, the kidneys — not so easily. You're going to want to keep yours healthy, so skip the sugary beverages.

About This Article

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Sherri Shafer, RD, CDE, is a senior registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. She teaches diabetes self-management workshops and provides nutrition counseling for individuals with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational dia-betes. She is also the author of Diabetes Type 2: Complete Food Management Program.

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