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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Oct;71(10):1341-7. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glv205. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Which Frail Older People Are Dehydrated? The UK DRIE Study.

Author information

1
Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norfolk, UK. L.hooper@uea.ac.uk.
2
Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norfolk, UK.
3
University of Canberra, Australia.
4
Public and Patient Involvement in Research (PPIRes) Norfolk, UK.
5
NorseCare Norfolk, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Water-loss dehydration in older people is associated with increased mortality and disability. We aimed to assess the prevalence of dehydration in older people living in UK long-term care and associated cognitive, functional, and health characteristics.

METHODS:

The Dehydration Recognition In our Elders (DRIE) cohort study included people aged 65 or older living in long-term care without heart or renal failure. In a cross-sectional baseline analysis, we assessed serum osmolality, previously suggested dehydration risk factors, general health, markers of continence, cognitive and functional health, nutrition status, and medications. Univariate linear regression was used to assess relationships between participant characteristics and serum osmolality, then associated characteristics entered into stepwise backwards multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS:

DRIE included 188 residents (mean age 86 years, 66% women) of whom 20% were dehydrated (serum osmolality >300 mOsm/kg). Linear and logistic regression suggested that renal, cognitive, and diabetic status were consistently associated with serum osmolality and odds of dehydration, while potassium-sparing diuretics, sex, number of recent health contacts, and bladder incontinence were sometimes associated. Thirst was not associated with hydration status.

CONCLUSIONS:

DRIE found high prevalence of dehydration in older people living in UK long-term care, reinforcing the proposed association between cognitive and renal function and hydration. Dehydration is associated with increased mortality and disability in older people, but trials to assess effects of interventions to support healthy fluid intakes in older people living in residential care are needed to enable us to formally assess causal direction and any health benefits of increasing fluid intakes.

KEYWORDS:

Aged; Dehydration; Dementia; Diabetes mellitus; Osmolar concentration

PMID:
26553658
PMCID:
PMC5018558
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/glv205
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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