Maryam Bano, a middle aged woman, was advised by a doctor at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to increase water intake to counter the heartburn, acidity in stomach and pain in kidneys, as people drastically reduce water use in winter, resulting in serious health problems. Bano was a hepatitis C patient and she is normal after getting the treatment, but feels pain in kidneys and liver; therefore the doctor advised her to increase water intake after she started consuming less water, as she doesn’t feel thirst in winter.
The doctor was of the opinion that she had a minor effect on kidneys and liver due to the hepatitis C, but the problem is not of insignificant nature, when Maryam feels pain as a result of reduced water intake. People drastically reduce liquid intake in winter, while ignoring the fact that a certain amount of water is necessary to keep the body system and metabolism right. It causes serious medical problems, including heartburn, acidity, skin problems and disorders in excretory as well as digestive systems. All people, depending on their age group and metabolism rates, need different quantities of water in winter, which is usually not considered, as only a few people are aware of this fact. This practice leads to certain complications.
Azam Khan, a resident of G-9 Markaz, told Pakistan Today that he used to bought five bottles containing 18 litres of water from every week but the number had reduced to three in winter.
“I know that a drastic reduction in water consumption is dangerous for health, but I cannot force my children to drink more.”
A housewife Ayesha opined that her two-and-half-year-old son urinated more and more with an additional amount of water; therefore, it was good that he used less water in winter.
Similarly, most of the elderly people believe that drinking more water leads to more urination and they avoid going to bathroom especially at night, so they reduce water or tea intake.
Dr Naeem, a general physician at Poly Clinic, told Pakistan Today, “It is a wrong perception in our society that we associate the intake of water with decrease in mercury. Our body needs a minimum of two litres of water in to run certain intra-body functions.”
He said the reduction in water intake led to certain complications.
“A minimum of eight glasses of water is necessary for the body daily to keep the skin alive and prevent urinary disorders,” he stressed.
According to Dr Naeem, the intake of certain other liquids like tea, coffee and ‘qehwa’ could benefit, but these drinks were not alternative to fresh drinking water. “The nature has kept certain useful elements, necessary for the body in pure drinking water,” he said.
He said the concept that related the water intake to more urination was wrong as urination dealt with the excretion of uric acid from the body, and water facilitated the excretion rather than adding to it.