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How to Calculate Hydration Levels

Knowing your body's hydration level is important for maintaining a normal level of water. Water makes up for 60 percent of body weight and the body uses it to monitor temperature, protect organs and joints, transport oxygen to cells and eliminate waste. If body fluid is lost and not replaced quickly, dehydration occurs. You lose water through perspiration, urination and respiration. Calculating body hydration can ensure you are maintaining a healthy water intake amount. There are three common methods  such as refractometer, Sweat Patches, Urine Color Chart to measure body hydration levels.

Measure the urine's specific gravity with a refractometer to determine the body level hydration, available at health and sports stores or online.

Collect the urine sample in the morning and deposit into a clean container. For the first use, you must calibrate the refractometer by using distilled water as the sample and set the scale to 1.000. Wipe the glass plate clean with a nonabrasive cloth. Use a clean eye dropper to place a drop of urine on the plate.

Look through the eye piece of the refractometer in natural light to read the contrast point. The read out should fall between 1.000 and 1.035.

Sweat Patches
Buy sweat patches from a fitness or sports equipment retailer. These patches will collect sweat for analysis.

Hold and stick the sweat patch on either the upper back, chest, thigh or forearm. Prior to placing the patch, thoroughly clean the skin area with de-ionized water or shave any hair on the area and wipe with alcohol.

Exercise for about 30 minutes. Pull off the sweat patch and set in a centrifuge to complete an electrolyte analysis. If you do not have access to a centrifuge, bring it to a laboratory. If results show a high level of sodium, you may need to increase water intake and adjust your diet. It is best to consult a physician on the exact followup care.

Urine Color Chart
Measure body hydration with a urine color chart (See Resources).

Gather a urine sample in a clean, clear container in the morning. Hold the sample up in natural lighting against a neutral background.

Compare the urine color with the color chart. Hydration levels in urine are measured in numbers. If the urine is light yellow and rates 1-3 on the color chart, then the body is well hydrated. If the urine is medium or dark yellow and falls 4 through 6 on the color chart, it indicates some dehydration. Numbers 7 and 8 indicate severe hydration.

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