We examined the effect of body water deficits on standing balance and sought to determine if plasma hyperosmolality (Posm) and/or volume reduction (%ΔVplasma) exerted independent effects. Nine healthy volunteers completed three experimental trials which consisted of a euhydration (EUH) balance test, a water deficit session and a hypohydration (HYP) balance test. Hypohydration was achieved both by exercise-heat stress to 3% and 5% body mass loss (BML), and by a diuretic to 3% BML. Standing balance was assessed during quiet standing on a force platform with eyes open and closed. With eyes closed, hypohydration significantly decreased medial-lateral sway path and velocity by 13% (both p < .040). However, 95% confidence intervals for the mean difference between EUH and HYP were all within the coefficient of variation of EUH measures, indicating limited practical importance. Neither Vplasma loss nor Posm increases were associated with changes in balance. We concluded that standing balance was not altered by hypohydration.
The authors are with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA.