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Up to 60% of the human body is water, which means that drinking water is necessary for functioning and survival. Every system in the body depends on water to keep working, so it’s up to us to keep ourselves hydrated. When we don’t get enough water, our body becomes dehydrated, and this can have severe repercussions. We can feel fatigued and tired when it comes to mild dehydration, but it becomes extremely dangerous when we suffer from severe dehydration. Some of the most common causes of dehydration are vigorous exercise, exposure to heat, vomiting and diarrhea, diabetes, fever, or burns and skin infections. These situations put us at risk of dehydration, so it’s important to keep ourselves in check. If you notice any of the following symptoms, find a way to rehydrate your body immediately:
The body’s first indicator that it needs more water is thirst, so drinking as soon as you feel thirsty is a good way to keep your body hydrated. The body
has its own complex method of regulating fluid balance, so sometimes, even a small change in fluid balance can trigger thirst in our body. Either way, it’s important to keep hydrated through the day to avoid any dehydration, especially if you exercise, or the temperature is high outside, or you work jobs that physically exert you.
Urine Color Or Amount
Urine accounts for the majority of fluid that leaves our body, so it can tell us a lot about our hydration status. If you are dehydrated, the kidneys try to conserve water in the body by concentrating urine because this allows the waste to be eliminated but retains the water content. If you’re well hydrated, your urine is pale yellow, clear, and nearly odorless. Dark and cloudy urine can signal dehydration: a honey yellow signals mild dehydration while a dark amber color with a strong odor signals severe dehydration. Moreover, low urine output can also point to dehydration.
When we become dehydrated, we can become fatigued and exhausted. This makes it even more important to hydrate ourselves when we are exerting ourselves physically because these activities can cause fatigue anyway. If you find yourself feeling lethargic and exhausted in the middle of your work day, it could be your body’s way of telling you to have more water.
Your skin is about 30% water, so any changes in body fluids can be seen in your skin. Water is responsible for the elasticity and fullness in our skin, and keeps it firm and soft. When we are dehydrated, our skin loses its elasticity, becomes quite dry, and feels cool and clammy to touch. Pinch your skin between your thumb and forefinger, and if you’re well hydrated, your skin should snap back to place after it is
released. If the skin takes longer than half a second to return to normal, you may be dehydrated.
Muscle cramps are very common when dehydration is caused by excessive sweating. When we sweat, we release fluids as well as sodium, which is an electrolyte that plays a part in muscle contractions. When fluid and sodium become depleted, muscles tend to contract involuntarily. You can feel this during strenuous exercise, which makes it extremely important to keep drinking water when you exercise.
Drop In Blood Pressure
Dehydration lowers the volume of the blood in the body, which in turn lowers the pressure on the artery walls. The low BP can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, tired and weak, especially when you stand up after lying down. A small drop in blood pressure is relatively
harmless however, and can be remedied by drinking water. However, severe dehydration can cause dangerously low blood pressure that will require medical attention.
This happens because your heart is compensating for the loss of fluid in your body. When there isn’t enough fluid in the body, the volume of blood in the vessels decreases, and the heart has to work harder to deliver enough blood throughout the body. If the dehydration becomes more severe, the heart becomes ineffective at delivering the blood and can cause the organs to shut down. This might require medical attention.
Irritability Or Confusion
Even mild dehydration can cause irritability and decreased brain function. Other symptoms can include anxiety, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, and an impairment in short-term memory. When the dehydration becomes more severe, it can cause
confusion, incoherence, and delirium. Hydration can have a significant effect on mental performance, so if you want optimum brain functioning, staying hydrated can help immensely.