How Much Water Do You Need to Drink Every Day?

Woman-Drinking-Water-FBDid you know that you’re mostly made of water? If you’re an adult female, you’re about 55% water. Men are about 60% because they typically have more lean tissue (which contains more water) and women have more fatty tissue (which contains less water). Younger people have more (babies are born at about 78%) and older folks have less (about 50%).

Approximate percentages of water in various body parts:

  • Blood 92%
  • Lungs 83%
  • Muscles and kidneys 79%
  • Heart and brain 73%
  • Skin 64%
  • Bones 31%

Yes, even your bones are nearly one-third H2O. And yet two-thirds of us — nearly 70% — aren’t drinking enough water to keep our bodies functioning properly. It doesn’t take much to throw off the balance and become dehydrated. Don’t let something as simple as drinking enough water send you to the ER — it’s really not a story you’ll look forward to telling around the water cooler.


When does dehydration occur?

  • At just 1% dehydration, or when you’ve lost 1% of your body’s water, mental performance and physical coordination start to become impaired — and you’re not even thirsty yet
  • At 2-3% dehydration, you’ll feel thirsty and possibly some of these other symptoms:
    • Fatigue, lethargy, fuzzy thinking
    • Irritability
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Dry mouth and skin
    • Muscle cramps
    • Rapid pulse (100 beats/minute or higher)
    • Fever and chills

Bryan Thibodeau, MD, an emergency medicine and pediatrics specialist at Medical City Children’s Hospital, cautions parents to look for these signs of dehydration in infants and babies:

  • Sunken fontanelle (soft spot on the head)
  • Limp/inactive
  • Dry lips/tongue/mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Pale or mottled skin

Dehydration can be very dangerous, especially for infants, children and older people. If someone you know shows signs of dehydration, seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

Why our bodies need water.

Besides being the primary building block for all cells, water is vital to the health of every system in our bodies. Among other important functions, water

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Transports nutrients and waste materials
  • Aids digestion
  • Cushions the brain and spinal cord
  • Keeps eyes and mouths moist
  • Lubricates joints
  • Can prevent heartburn, constipation and kidney stones
  • Manages heartbeat, blood pressure and electrolyte (sodium) balance

Did you know water can also help prevent heart attacks? A study at Loma Linda University found that dehydration thickens the blood, making it harder for the heart to pump and increasing the risk of blood clots. Study participants who drank just 40 ounces of water a day cut their risk for heart attacks by 54% for men and 41% for women.

How much water is enough?

The old advice to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is just that — a good starting point but outdated because it was never really accurate. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation for daily water intake. How much you need depends on:

  • How much you weigh (a larger person needs more water)
  • Your activity level
  • Your metabolism
  • Your geographic location (people who live in hot, dry climates need more water)
  • The weather
  • Your diet (how much water are you getting from the foods you eat?)
  • Your health (fever, vomiting, diarrhea and some medications and conditions can increase your water needs)

HCA Medical City Ask a Nurse Infographic_Revised

The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you drink enough water so that you’re rarely thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, you’re probably doing fine. If you’re always thirsty and your urine is dark yellow with a strong odor, you need to get chugging. If you just don’t like water, try getting it in soups, smoothies and high-water content fruits and vegetables.

If someone in your family is feeling the effects of dehydration, one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you.

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Heartburn or Heart Attack? How to Save Your Own Life.

heartbrun-v-ha1-fbWould you recognize the difference between heartburn and a heart attack? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Both conditions can cause similar chest pain. In fact, heartburn can be a heart attack symptom, especially in women. Almost 40% of female heart attack patients reported experiencing heartburn or indigestion shortly before their attacks.

But don’t lose heart. For 60% of people who seek emergency care because of chest pain, the diagnosis is heartburn. What makes it so difficult to differentiate between the two? The confusion lies within our own bodies. The nerves responsible for sensing and reporting chest pain simply aren’t able to identify the origin and nature of that pain.


Generally speaking, unexplained chest pain is a sign that you need to call 911 (see the American Heart Association’s very convincing Don’t Die of Doubt commercials if you’re hesitant to call an ambulance) or head to the closest ER. Often, medical testing is the only way to know for sure and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Sadly, the average person having symptoms waits three hours before getting help, which is why many heart attack patients die before reaching the hospital.

“Chest pain is a very serious matter,” said Tim Hartman, DO, medical director at Medical City ER Stonebridge. “It’s something you shouldn’t ignore. It can be very serious, such as a heart attack, or something minor, such as indigestion. But symptoms vary widely and most heart attack sufferers had no previous symptoms. So we recommend that you come to the ER whenever you’re having chest pain and let us evaluate you.”

While you shouldn’t try to diagnose yourself and should always seek medical care if you’re having symptoms, there are clues that can help you distinguish between heartburn and a heart attack.

Suspect heartburn if symptoms include:

  • Sharp, burning pain in the chest area, which may travel upward
  • Discomfort after eating, particularly when lying down and the meal was large, fatty or spicy
  • Bitter or sour taste in the back of the throat
  • Antacids quickly alleviate symptoms

Suspect a heart attack if symptoms include:

  • Fullness, pressure, squeezing, tightness or pain in the center of the chest
  • Pain lasting for more than a few minutes or recurring pain
  • Pain following physical exertion or emotional stress
  • Chest pain that radiates to arms, shoulders, upper abdomen, back, neck or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • It’s wintertime (no matter where you live), when there’s a more than 30% increase in heart attacks and heart-related problems due to “Christmas coronaries” and “holiday heart”

Other telltale heart attack symptoms (more common in women) include:

  • Extreme, unexplained fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heartburn

Phyllis Turlington, a heart attack survivor who was rushed to Medical City McKinney, has an important message for anyone tempted to dismiss these more subtle symptoms.

“I felt like I was having a low blood sugar attack,” Phyllis said. “I felt a little nauseous, and then I started sweating really bad. My hair got soaking wet in a matter of seconds, and I just knew I was having a heart attack.”

EMS and hospital staff were able to get Phyllis from the ambulance to the cardiac catheterization lab in just 12 minutes, saving her life and precious heart tissue.

“I watch enough doctor shows to know that time is very important when you’re having a heart attack,” said Phyllis. “I want to tell everyone, particularly women: Do not ignore these simple symptoms. Either go to an ER or call 911 immediately.”

Do you know how healthy your heart is? Our free Heart Risk Assessment can help you pinpoint your personal risk factors for heart disease so you can start taking steps to decrease them today.

If you or someone in your family experiences chest pain, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations or Accredited Chest Pain Centers has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

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How to Keep Holiday Stress from Harming Your Heart

Family sleeping on sofa at ChristmasEmergency room doctors have coined the term “Christmas coronary” to describe the more than 30 percent increase in heart attacks and heart-related problems that occur during the winter months — especially on Christmas, the day after Christmas and on New Year’s Day.

To find out who is at risk for holiday heart attacks (hint: age and gender don’t factor in), why they happen more frequently and tips to prevent them, we recommend Beware of Binging and Other Tips to Prevent Holiday Heart Attacks.

Holiday Heart
Christmas coronary sounds as bad as it is, but “holiday heart” — another doctor-named seasonal trend — seems as if it could be a Christmas movie (it is) or a description of what happened to the Grinch’s ticker when he gave the presents back.

Unfortunately, it’s not as jolly as it sounds. Dale Yoo, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Medical City McKinney, says that if you leave the symptoms of holiday heart untreated and let it go on too long, it can lead to more serious conditions, including atrial fibrillation (AFIB), stroke and diabetes.

As the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., heart disease should get used to being nicknamed. But you shouldn’t have to suffer with it, no matter which name it goes by.

So we asked Dr. Yoo to explain holiday heart and give his best advice for avoiding it this winter.

“Holiday heart can affect anyone of any age who is under stress. And today, that includes young people as well,” said Dr. Yoo. “If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup.”

 Symptoms of holiday heart can include:

Stress causes holiday heart.

“What do we typically do during the holidays?” said Dr. Yoo. “Our routine is disrupted and we compress a lot of activities into a very short period of time, such as hosting friends and family members, shopping, going to parties, cooking, cleaning and decorating, all of which can put additional stress on our hearts.”

Stress causes a release of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which constrict blood vessels, increase heart rate and raise blood pressure. Over time, chronic stress can enable these conditions to become permanent.

Holiday heart stressors include:

  • Eating rich foods loaded with fat and sugar
  • Eating more food than normal
  • Drinking more alcoholic beverages and less water
  • Drinking more caffeinated beverages and less water
  • Staying up late and not getting enough rest
  • Exercising less than normal (who has time?)
  • Stressing over all of it

Dr. Yoo’s top 3 tips to prevent holiday heart (and other heart problems).

  1. Make sure you get enough sleep based on your age:
  • 12-14 years old / 9-11 hours
  • 15-17 years old / 8-10 hours
  • 18-64 years old / 7-9 hours
  • 65 years old and up / 7-8 hours
  1. Drink lots of water: Drinking 40 ounces of water daily can cut the risk of dying from a heart attack by 41 percent for women and 54 percent for men, versus those who drank less than 16 ounces. But more is better!
  1. Decrease (or eliminate) additional sources of adrenaline (caffeine), including:
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Herbal supplements
  • Energy drinks, such as 5-hour ENERGY® and Red Bull®

Additional ways to keep your heart from doing the holiday Hokey Pokey:

  • Stay well nourished: Maintain a healthy diet and indulge in just a few seasonal treats.
  • Move as much as you can: If you can’t get to the gym, take the stairs at work or find a place to walk at lunch.
  • Be happy! For a list of 10 holiday stress-busters from Radhika Vayani, DO, an internal medicine physician at Medical City Alliance, watch the video below:

Find out your risks for heart disease and start taking steps to decrease them today with our free Heart Risk Assessment.

We wish you and your family a very safe and happy holiday season, but if your heart skips a beat, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Visit to find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

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New Zika Information: Know How to Stay Safe from Mosquitoes


Your summer guide to Zika, West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses.

Independence Day brought rain and heat to North Texas; two things mosquitoes love most. The holiday also brought reports of the 12th case of Zika virus in Dallas County and the 8th in Tarrant County, bringing the total in Texas to 53 as of July 6. Nationwide, the CDC reports 935 cases as of June 29, with 12 babies impacted by the virus: 7 infants with birth defects and 5 pregnancy losses with birth defects. July 6 also marked Dallas County’s first confirmed case of West Nile Virus this year. Given the circumstances, we thought it might be helpful to provide a recap of risk factors, symptoms, treatments and prevention measures for Zika and West Nile. And while we’re on the subject of mosquitoes, we’ll include a couple of other mosquito-borne viruses North Texans need to watch out for as well.


Zika has been a topic of concern since last July when the country of Brazil, an active Zika virus transmission area, reported links between the virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and microcephaly in infants (a neurological birth defect that results in an underdeveloped head and brain). Currently, there are no reports of locally transmitted cases of Zika in Texas with the exception of one Dallas County resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired the virus while traveling abroad.

But Americans — especially athletes and coaches heading to Rio to compete in this August’s Olympic Games — are also concerned about summer travel plans. If it makes you feel any better, the World Health Organization issued a statement June 14 announcing there is no reason to move or postpone the games; partly because it’s about to be winter in Brazil.

This is great news for sports fans everywhere, but it is mosquito season in Texas, so it’s smart to be informed and prepared. Just keep in mind that your chances of getting Zika or any of the other mosquito-borne viruses listed below are very low, and of those who do become infected, with the exception of chikungunya, only about 1 in 5 develop symptoms.

Your guide to Zika, West Nile, dengue and chikungunya.


If you or someone in your family suspects they may have a mosquito-borne virus, alert a medical health professional immediately. If you are experiencing any of the complications listed above, seek immediate emergency medical treatment.

Medical City Healthcare wishes you a safe, bite-free summer, but if a mosquito ruins your day, it’s a relief to know there are 17 emergency locations with FastERTX average wait times posted online. Visit to find the ER nearest you.


Back to School Means Moms Can Focus on Their Health

Back-to-School Equals Back-to-Health

Back to School = Back to Mom

It’s been a fun and fabulous summer – filled with camps for the kids, vacation, movie nights, museum outings. You name it, we’ve done it around North Texas! From rooting on the Texas Rangers in hundred degree heat to visiting Sandy Lake Amusement Park and neighborhood splash parks. We’ve had such an eventful summer, we’re exhausted.

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