Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has a long list of symptoms that can be different for everyone.
Yet one common symptom often occurs, excess mucus production that turns sticky and thick, which can make it difficult to breathe and cough up.
A simple solution to helping the mucus production by thinning it down and making it easier to cough up is to drink a lot of water.
Hydration is a major part of what you can do to prevent mucus buildup and other unwelcome symptoms of COPD.
Consulting A Doctor
When trying to figure out how much water you need a day, your doctor is the best person to turn to.
Not only do they know your personal health, but they know how much water would be good for you, based upon your health, weight and age.
This can provide a more customized result versus relying on broad statistics found online.
Your doctor can advise what to drink, how often you should be drinking and how much you should be drinking every day.
The Importance of Hydration
Drinking water can do wonders to your health by keeping your organs hydrated, protecting your eyes, mouth and lungs, and helps remove waste and toxins from the body.
Our bodies are made of nearly 60% water, which means we need to replenish our water quite often in order to keep your water levels up.
By urinating, sweating and breathing, we can lose up to 2-3 quarts of water every day which can leave us dehydrated.
It is very important replenish the water you lose every day to both help your body stay hydrated and keep away infections and bacteria.
Water is known to reduce the amount of mucus production, which helps clear room for air to get in and out of the lungs.
Excess mucus production is also linked to inflammation and bacterial infections which can be why those with COPD often experience those symptoms.
The most common form of infection in the airways is caused by mucus adhesion, mucus plaques and mucus plugs.
This buildup can be diminished by water, drinking water can soften the mucus and allow it to be coughed up or brought into the stomach with the water.
How Much Water?
A common thought is to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated and healthy.
Though this is not bad advice, and it is easy to remember, it may not be enough water for you.
According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, men should have roughly 15.5 cups of water every day, and women should have about 11.5 cups a day.
This isn’t always true and accurate though, as if you exercise more, live in a humid, hot or high-altitude environment or are sick, you may require more water each day.
Drinking too much water can be unsafe for your health, as the kidneys cannot excrete excess water and can cause the sodium in the blood to dilute (hyponatremia), which can be deadly.
The math to determining (roughly) how much water to drink each day is as follows:
- Take your weight (lbs) and divide by 2.2
- Multiply that number based on your age:
- Younger than 30: multiply by 40
- 30-55 yrs: multiply by 35
- Older than 55: multiply by 30
You can divide the final number by 8 to figure out how many cups you should drink a day.
Before you follow this guideline, check with your doctor that it is the right amount of water for you.
What Not to Drink
All drinks are okay in moderation, a glass of wine or iced tea here and there is fine but drinking it more often can result in dehydration.
Alcoholic drinks are known to dehydrate you by squeezing your cells and draining them of water, while sugary drinks do not replenish your water loss completely.
If you drink 12 oz of water, you will retain more of the fluids than you would if you drank 12 oz of soda.
Your best bet is to stock with fluids that will rehydrate you, such as water, broths, fruit juice (100% natural, no added sugar), caffeine-free coffee and caffeine-free tea.
What to Eat
There are some foods that can also help with hydration, such as cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, carrots and cantaloupe.
Not only do these foods provide water, it can also provide nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants.
If you become dehydrated, there are foods that can help replenish your electrolytes, such as bananas, potatoes (sweet potatoes too), brown rice, salmon, kale, and almonds.
Though these foods can help you replenish any electrolytes, it is important not to binge eat the food and make sure to drink water as well.
We often forget to drink as much water as our body needs, which can leave us tired and dehydrated.
It is very important to our health to stay hydrated, by drinking the correct amount of water and drink the right fluids.
Some fluids can be bad for us, so drinking the right fluids and eating healthy foods that are great for rehydration.