My older sister had a total hip replacement 2 months ago. She has had set backs and delays from the beginning. Dehydration seems to be the central problem. What causes this?
Even healthy older adults are at risk for dehydration (fluid loss). There is a decrease in thirst as we age and thus, a tendency to stop drinking liquids as much. Many Americans confuse thirst with hunger and eat instead of drinking.
Older adults who have hip joint surgery are also at increased risk of dehydration. There is blood loss with this operation. The problem gets worse if the patient has nausea and vomiting from medications. The presence of any other medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems adds to the mix.
Even mild to moderate dehydration can slow a patient down. Dizziness, weakness, and fatigue are common. Just getting through the daily activities or dressing, eating, and personal care can zap a patientâs strength. There may be no energy left for exercise needed after this operation.
Jon A. Mukand, MD, PhD, et al. The Effects of Dehydration on Rehabilitation Outcomes of Elderly Orthopedic Patients. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. January 2003. Vol. 84. No. 1. Pp. 58-61.
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