Diabetes Management: How much water should one drink daily to control blood sugar?

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When we talk about diabetes treatment and management, we discuss many important things like diet, exercise, sleep, medicines, and follow-up with the doctor. But we forget to talk about drinking water and maintaining fluid balance. Even mild dehydration can cause a significant increase in blood sugar, which harms the body over time.

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Drinking only water may not be enough for people suffering from diabetes. They should also drink electrolyte-rich fluids and glucose in appropriate quantities so that the body can absorb it easily.

Why is dehydration risky for diabetics?

When the body lacks water, blood glucose becomes more concentrated, resulting in high sugar levels. The kidneys then work harder to produce more urine to filter the blood. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to increased urination, thirst, and dehydration. This can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin, which prevents blood sugar from getting into the cells to be used as energy.

In such a condition, the liver breaks down fat for fuel, leading to a build-up of acid that can even lead to coma. One of the first treatments given to a diabetic ketoacidosis and coma patient is to rapidly infuse fluids into their body. Insulin is given only after they have been hydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration in diabetes

The most common symptoms are excessive thirst and dry mouth. In more severe cases, the skin loses its elasticity. Symptoms include headache, dry eyes, dry skin, dark yellow urine, dizziness, general weakness, and exhaustion. Sometimes the symptoms of dehydration are not obvious until the body is in distress. The pulse becomes fast and weak and may also cause confusion and lethargy.

Can certain diabetes medications cause dehydration?

Recently, the use of medications such as SGLT2 inhibitors has been shown to increase glucose excretion through urine. Therefore, people taking such medications need to increase their water intake by at least half to one liter per day to stay hydrated.