Alcohol Causes Dehydration

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Posted by Cecile on May 16, 2003 at 12:27:44:

In Reply to: Drinking and off-roading posted by Slim on May 15, 2003 at 18:31:21:

Bob is right - alcohol causes dehydration:

Avoid alcohol in the summer as it has a diuretic effect, and it can also impair your judgment so that you are not aware that you are overheating. (Patricia Sweeny-Rywak, M.D., Emergency Room Physician, Chicago Hospital)

In the summer replenish fluids and avoid all alcoholic beverages. (Anne W. Moulton, M.D., McCall’s Aug. 1997)

Tips for beating the heat: Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Avoid alcohol because it can interfere with sweating and cause the body to lose fluids. (Washington Post Health, June 1994)

Certain drugs increase vulnerability. Alcohol is one of those drugs. (HealthNews newsletter, July 1997)

Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating and your body will use up water trying to flush out the alcohol. (Answer woman/Claire McIntosh, Associate Editor of McCall’s, May 1994)

Adults over 55 have a less efficient body thermostat and thirst monitor. Older patients often have to go to the emergency room with complaints of fainting and disorientation because they are losing more fluids that they are taking in. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, increasing water elimination. Eliminate alcohol and replenish the body with water. (Emergency Department of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in South San Francisco, Reader’s Digest, 1992)


Alcohol is not just a depressant, it also acts as a diuretic, drawing more fluids from your body, and alcoholic beverages will just make you feel worse by slowing down bodily functions even more. Only three-quarters of a caffeinated drink is going towards your fluid replacement. ("Dehydration," a Weekly Guide to Surviving the Season, The Washington Post Health, July 30, 2002)

Avoid alcohol to avoid heat stress, as it interferes with your body's fight against heat stress. It can put a strain on your heart. ("Avoiding heat stress," Jefferson Board For Aging, Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2002)

Though consuming alcohol is usually accompanied by a flush and a feeling of warmth, body temperature is actually decreased. ("Effects of Alcohol on the Brain," Alcohol Research Center, LSUHSC - Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, August 2002)

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