Dehydration & ADH

It’s officially summer, which means more time spent working in the garden, more activity for kids who are out of school, and lots of sunshine and vitamin D.

It’s a good time to revisit dehydration, because with the increased heat and activity in summer, we all should be drinking a little bit extra water. You can read all about the importance of staying hydrated here. Today, I want to talk about antidiuretic hormone (ADH) and what it does to our bodies.

ADH, also known as vasopressin, is produced in the hypothalamus (brain) and stored in the pituitary gland (which is connected to the brain). When it starts to sense dehydration inside our body, ADH is released and tells our kidneys to conserve water. Our urine production slows, allowing our body to retain water so we don’t become too dehydrated. Urine will be more highly concentrated in salts and other waste, making it a darker yellow or orange color. This is one of the many amazing ways our bodies are able to protect themselves in times of need. Without ADH, our bodies would shut down sooner due to dehydration.

However, chronic dehydration can lead to too much ADH being released, which leads to excess water retention. With high levels of ADH, constriction on our blood vessels is also increased. The constriction of blood vessels is another way for our body to prevent water loss, through sweating and respiration. However, this leads to more pressure on our arteries, which causes higher blood pressure readings. Sometimes when someone begins drinking more water, they are able to lower their blood pressure readings.

So, consider this your reminder to stay hydrated all summer long. This applies to kids, adults and elderly people. Let your kids go pick out cool new water bottles to carry around with them. Keep a couple bottles of water in your car in case you get thirsty while running errands. Staying hydrated will help keep you energized and healthy so you can fully enjoy your summer!


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