How Dehydration Affects Your Body
We have all grown up hearing ‘Drink more water!’ almost every single day. And when we thought it would finally stop once we are older, it only got more and more frequent. So, perhaps drinking water is that important.
Drinking water contributes largely to maintaining balance in our bodies. But what would allow us to realize its importance is the simple fact that our bodies are formed of around 60% of water.
How does water work in our bodies, and what are the damages dehydration can cause? Discover it all below.
The main functions of water in our bodies
Health experts, your doctor and your mum do not recommend you have more water for no reason. Water can affect your body on multiple levels.
This ‘magical’ fluid helps your body maintain a natural functioning, by balancing the amount of fluids your body needs for digest food, produce saliva, and transport then absorb nutrients.
In addition to that, dietitians often advise people suffering from overweight to make sure they are drinking a lot of water throughout the day, as it enables a better control of the calories in the body.
What is body dehydration?
Considering all the functions we mentioned above, you can clearly tell that water plays a crucial role in your body. Conversely, the lack of water, which is dehydration, can impact your health negatively. Thus, dehydration can be simply defined as the excessive loss of water in your body.
Among the causes of dehydration are some health problems like diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating and/or urination, as well as gastrointestinal diseases.
What happens in your body when it is dehydrated?
Before getting into the effects of dehydration on the human body, it is essential to note that the feeling of thirst is not the earliest sign of dehydration. According to the U.S National Institutes of Health, our bodies are usually behind in reflecting the level of dehydration in our systems.
That being said, a dehydration level as small as 1% can drastically impact your body. Dehydration can, for instance, affect your mood, concentration levels, and memory.
On the larger scale, dehydration can damage your kidneys and increase your risks of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The symptoms of dehydration
The severity of the symptoms highly depends on the level of dehydration in your body. Generally, the symptoms of dehydration can include:
§ Dryness in the mouth
§ White tongue
§ Fatigue or exhaustion
§ Increased headaches
In case of more severe dehydration, the symptoms can also involve:
§ High blood pressure
§ Increased heart beats
§ Decreased urination
§ Increased dizziness
§ Epilepsies (seizure disorders)
How doctors detect dehydration in your body
Doctors often rely on clinical evaluation to diagnose dehydration. The main aspects professionals evaluate in their initial assessment are:
§ The skin: Sweat and skin elasticity are among the major factors doctors usually consider when assessing dehydration. As your body loses water, your skin becomes less elastic and the amount of sweat decreases, especially in areas such as the armpit or the groin.
§ The mental condition: The mental status reflects how alert a person is. In the case of infant suffering from dehydration, the whining may increase, and their muscles may lose tone.
§ Vital signs: These include evaluating the heart rate and blood pressure. Patients with dehydration symptoms usually experience a drop in their blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
§ Body temperature: The body temperature is a direct indicator of fever. Temperature is usually measured by mouth or in the ear. However, using a rectal thermometer might be required if the fever is difficult to measure.
§ Dryness in the mouth: creating saliva is one of the functions of water. Therefore, the dryness in the mouth is one of the major indicators of body dehydration.
How dehydration can be treated
Prevention is always better than cure. Nevertheless, doctors aim for fluid replacement to treat dehydration in severe cases.
When the fluid replacement treatment fails, doctors then may attempt rehydration through intravenous fluid. This treatment highly depends on the results of the evaluation of the health expert, as well as the patient’s level of dehydration, and how much time they would require recovering from it.
On the other hand, health professionals monitor rehydration treatments by assessing the urine output. An increase in the fluids going through the intravascular space is a major sign of the success of the rehydration treatment adopted.
How much water should you drink?
The amount of water your body needs on a daily basis varies from one person to another. It can depend on their weight, age, and gender, as well as the climate, the body composition, metabolism, and the diet they are following.
According to the U.S National Institutes of Health, the recommended amount of water for adult women is 2.7 liters per day, while it is around 3.7 for adult men.
To stay ahead of your hydration, you must gain full awareness of the amount of fluids that enters your system. Not only that, but your urine can be an important indicator as well, be it the quantity or the color.
It is necessary to note that drinking water is not the only way to keep your body hydrated. While it is the main method, there are also other sources of hydration in foods, such as watermelons, strawberries, cucumber, and lettuce.
Simple tricks to drink more water every day
Most of us go through the day only guided by our level of thirst in order to drink more water. Instead, drinking water should be more frequent than what your thirst reflects.
To keep your body hydrated throughout the day, there are some simple tricks and habits you can adopt today. These include:
-Having a beverage during each meal
-Taking a bottle of water with you, wherever you go. Having a water bottle on your desk or in the car will encourage you to drink more water effortlessly.
-Follow a rich diet by trying to add as many fruits and vegetables as possible. They will keep good hydration levels in your body and bring you many other benefits!