The human body has a built-in mechanism for telling us when we need to drink water – the feeling of being thirsty. Unfortunately, with an alarming two out of three individuals living with some form of chronic dehydration, many people have simply become numb to the sensation.
1. If you are among the majority and have an ongoing water deficit, there are some other less-obvious signals which indicate that your body is parched.
2. Two early signs of dehydration are thirst and dark-colored urine. This is the body’s way of trying to increase water intake and decrease water loss.
3. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration manifests in the mouth. Dehydration and the consequential lack of saliva allows yeast and bacteria to flourish unchecked around your teeth, gums and tongue which can quickly transform a healthy mouth into a miasma of chronic bad breath.
4. When you’re dehydrated and the blood volume decrease, the heart has to work harder to push oxygen and nutrients through the body. Next time you start to feeling tired, skip the coffee (which is dehydrating!) and drink a glass of water instead. Coffee, tea, soda and sports drinks are not substitutes for water.
5. In severe cases, skin can flake and scale or become severely red with cracks and bleeds. Simultaneously, when your skin loses moisture, the cells shrivel, causing wrinkles to appear more defined and making the skin look older. The best way to revitalize your skin is to nourish it with water.
6. Living in a constant state of dehydration can cause you to experience frequent dizzy spells and light-headedness due to lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. In severe cases, vertigo and nausea may result.
7. Believe it or not, feeling thirsty for water is a sign that you are already slightly dehydrated. A dry mouth often occurs with thirst and signifies that the mucus membranes in the body need hydration. The only way to resolve thirst and a dry mouth is to drink water throughout the day.
8. Your muscles and kidneys are composed of 73% water; your blood is composed of 83% water; your lungs are 90% water and your brain is made up of 76% water. We lose water when we breathe and daily through urine and sweat so replenishment is crucial.
9. The decrease in overall blood volume caused by dehydration may manifest as consistently low blood pressure. Over time, the increase in blood-cholesterol can cause arterial build-up and eventually plaques which increase blood pressure to potentially unsafe levels.
10. Dehydration can also lead to a loss of strength and stamina. It’s a main cause of heat exhaustion. You should be able to reverse dehydration at this stage by drinking more fluids. If dehydration is ongoing (chronic), it can affect your kidney function and increase the risk of kidney stones. It can also lead to muscle damage and constipation.
11. Many of us have been told to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day but when I ask patients about their water intake, I am told 2 cups is the daily average.
12. Generally, males need to consume 3 liters (12 cups) per day and females need to consume 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for optimal hydration. Failing to consume the recommended amount can lead to mild dehydration manifesting in multiple symptoms.
13. If you want to optimize your health, remember that small changes make big differences. Become mindful of your water intake and ensure you are consuming adequate amounts.
14. If you’re having a hard time getting all your water in, keep a glass water bottle with you at all times and consider setting an alarm every hour as a reminder to drink!
Images source: providr.com