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Prevent Dehydration in Seniors with Olive Diagnostics

Water is essential for life, but how do we know how much water we need? Your body is made up of about 60% water, which means it's important to stay hydrated. You can have a hard time reaching your recommended daily intake if you suffer from chronic illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease.


Seniors are at risk of dehydration because the body becomes less able to regulate water balance as we age. A simple way to prevent dehydration in seniors is with Olive Diagnostics complete continuous urinalysis monitoring system. Continuous urinalysis can be used to test urine for signs of dehydration, allowing medical professionals to intervene early on.



Using Olive Diagnostics to prevent dehydration


A urinalysis is a molecular test of your urine. It’s used to detect and manage a wide range of issues, such as urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes. A urinalysis involves checking the appearance, concentration and content of urine. For example, a urinary tract infection can make urine look cloudy instead of clear.


Water is essential for life, but how do we know how much water we need?


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your body needs water to survive, but how much you need depends on a number of factors, including your size, age and activity level.


For people below 60 years of age, a daily intake of 2 to 3 litres of water or 7 to 8 glasses of water every 24 hours is recommended. However, how much water an elderly person should drink each day depends on a number of factors such as activity level, climate, medications being taken, and underlying health conditions, and is hard to determine.


Your body is made up of about 60% water, which means it's important to stay hydrated.


Water helps your kidneys move fluid into and out of the body. If you don't drink enough water, your kidneys can get overworked.


The kidneys are responsible for removing waste from the body, but they also regulate the body's fluid balance.


Anyone can become dehydrated but dehydration is significantly more common in older adults.


Why? Because older adults naturally have lower volume of water in their bodies, are less mobile and therefore less likely to get up to refill their water glass, and when in care and during busy periods they can have the required intake level diminish due to overwork of staff. This means even a minor infection or illness can cause dehydration, and lead to serious consequences.


Bladder dysfunction occurs with age and a reduction in bladder capacity is very common in older adults. Additionally, prostrate issues in males is very common, with as many as 75% of men over 80 experiencing benign nodular hyperplasia. Each of these issues impacts urination and affects the overall hydration of an individual.


Older adults have psychological issues related to dehydration as well as physical. Self-dehydrating is common in those that have incontinence or a fear of wetting themselves.


In older adults, dehydration symptoms include less frequent urination and less volume per urination event. Physical signs include fatigue, dizziness and confusion and these lead to falls. Other major complications include seizures due to reduced electrolytes, and low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) due to blood pressure reduction and limitations on oxygenation of the blood.


The bottom line is that with age comes increased risks, so it's even more important to stay hydrated. Older adults who are under care should be monitored more closely during times when their workload is an issue and encouraged to get up for a drink of water on a regular basis.


Why is it so hard to determine dehydration in older adults?


In Professor Michael Woodwards paper on Guidelines to Effective Hydration in Aged Care Facilities, the notion of normal fluid intake and presentation of dehydration show clearly how difficult it is to maintain and diagnose hydration in older adults. A patients weight varies the intake of fluids by more than 30% - whereas the standard intake protocol is 1.5 – 2 litres per day. In reality for a person over 100kg, the intake should be 2.8 litres.


When trying to assess the status of an older adult for dehydration, signs such as dry mucous membranes, reduced tissue elasticity, reduced sweating, sunken eyes, tachycardia heart rate and low blood pressure are the top indicators – but they are also the top indicators of hundreds of other illnesses and conditions.


In a study of medical admission for people over 65 with a diagnostic coding of dehydration, only 17% actually received a confirmation of dehydration at a biochemical level, suggesting over-diagnosis probably due to an over-reliance on physical signs.


Prevent Dehydration in Seniors with Olive Diagnostics.


The Olive Diagnostics complete continuous urinalysis monitoring system is one of the most exciting innovations we've seen in healthcare. Olive diagnostics is the world’s first passive smart toilet seat that provides continuous monitoring of an individual's urine (urinalysis) with results delivered immediately to your computer, tablet or smartphone.


The device is a simple replacement for any normal toilet seat and uses spectroscopy and proprietary algorithms to identify each individual’s urine. Just as each fingerprint is unique to an individual, so is the makeup of their urine.


The system utilises multi-frequency spectrographic analysis to detect molecules in urine, specific gravity, pH, colour, protein, as well as volume, pressure, frequency and duration. A truly passive, non-invasive urine diagnostic system.


Unlike dry strip technology, there is no requirement to collect, sample and interpret the results. There is no aiming, no dipping, no dripping, no expiration dates and no complicated kits. Data is collected every time the person urinates.


With the Olive Diagnostics complete continuous urinalysis monitoring system, the history of each users urination is collected. Variations can be assessed over time, with individual markers and profiles set for upper and lower limits, taking account of each individuals age, medical history, as well as other factors. As an example, a trending decline in volume, and increasing frequency of urination will alert the primary carer that this individual may have bladder emptying issues, dehydration or other related medical issues.


Conclusion


Hydration is a key component of overall health. The danger in forgetting to drink sufficient water is real, especially as we get older.


Using the Olive Diagnostics complete continuous urinalysis monitoring system can help monitor seniors to ensure they remain hydrated with a personalised view of their hydration needs.


Continuous monitoring of urine in aged care facilities could help reduce the effects of dehydration among residents, improve their hydration status and reduce the burden on hospital health networks.

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