Water is absolutely essential for the human body. It is responsible for almost all major body functions like temperature regulation, transportation of oxygen and much more.
Lack of water can result in becoming dehydrated, which in turn can cause a ton of complications.
How do we get dehydrated and who’s at risk?
Well, as obvious as this may sound, our body becomes dehydrated if we don’t get enough water. It is usually caused by not drinking enough water to replace what we lose. Additionally, the climate, intensity of physical exercise and our diet can contribute to dehydration.
However, we may also get dehydrated if we are ill. This can range from minor illnesses to vomiting, diarrhoea or major comorbidities like diabetes.
Adults don’t get thirsty till they’re already dehydrated. We could be facing the side effects of dehydration without realising it.
Ideally, we should increase our water intake during hot weather or when we are ill. We should also consume enough water daily irrespective of the weather.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
The symptoms of dehydration also may differ by age. These are the most common in an adult:
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling lightheaded
- Extreme dry mouth
- Having dark coloured urine
- Urinating less than usual
Impact of dehydration on the human body
Dehydration can cause extreme complications that can be quite hard to treat. If we don’t drink enough water, we can suffer from:
Heart Injury: This is more common if we don’t drink enough fluids when vigorously exercising. Regardless of whether we’re sweating heavily or not, we should drink fluids. Dehydration related heart injuries can range from minor heat cramps to life-threatening heat strokes.
Urinary and kidney issues: Repeated dehydration or even prolonged dehydration can result in urinary tract infection, kidney stones and on the life-threatening side - kidney failure.
Seizures and low blood volume shock: When the electrolytes like sodium and potassium in our body are out of balance due to dehydration, then our cells won’t be able to carry electrical signals, this can lead to muscle contractions and even loss of consciousness.
Low blood volume shock, on the other hand, is more life-threatening. When our blood volume decreases due to dehydration, it can cause a drop in blood pressure and amount of oxygen in the body, which can result in a ton of complications.
Tips to avoid dehydration
Here are some effective tips to help you stay hydrated:
- Drink water whether you feel thirsty or not.
- Target 6-8 cups of fluids every day.
- Ensure balancing out the 6 glasses during day and night.
- Don’t skip meals as they contain fluids.
- Consume fruit juices, sports drinks and healthy alternatives.
Following these tips can help us stay hydrated on a daily basis. Preventing dehydration is always better than trying to heal from complications.