How to Recognize Dehydration
It seems as though most of this country is going through a heat wave currently. With the hot weather, it is important to not find yourself fighting off dehydration. Not drinking enough fluids on any day is bad for the body, but can become increasingly difficult for the body to maintain its function. Dehydration can become a large problem very easily. Continue to read more about how to recognize dehydration, and how to prevent it.
Deep Dive Into Dehydration
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is when our bodies do not have enough water. Our bodies need water to carry out simple bodily functions such as moving fluids through the kidneys and the urethra. We use water in the flow of blood, and it is the main component of our cells. Water is the most important resource in aiding dehydration. This water helps to lubricate joints, aid in digestion, retain moisture in our blood, brain, and bones. During digestion, our digestive system needs water to break down food, and filters water through the kidneys, and is responsible for healthy bowel movements. Our bodies use water to regulate temperature, in terms of homeostasis and sweating when too hot. During dehydration, most of the water in our bodies can be discarded as sweat. Excessive sweating can also be a key indicator of dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration can range from minor to server and include a dry mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, irritability, fatigue, confusion, dark colored urine, extreme thirst, and infrequent urination. Dehydration can lead to exertional heat stroke if severe enough. Please see a medical professional when there is vomiting, diarrhea, or a risk of diabetes, or feelings that you have dehydration, or have a history of dehydration symptoms.
When you’re suffering from dehydration, your blood becomes more concentrated. When this happens, your heart rate increases to maintain your blood pressure and your kidneys actually start retaining water. This is why your body decreases in urine. Less water in your system affects your body’s ability to regulate your temperature which can lead to hyperthermia (increased body temperature). Also, with decreased fluid levels in the brain, this affects your mood, memory, and coordination. Mild to moderate dehydration can be reversed by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.
Dehydration can happen at any time. Dehydration is often considered to only be a hot-weather concern, but it can also be a considerable health risk in the colder months. During the winter, it’s more difficult to realize when your body is suffering from dehydration. In the winter months, sweat evaporates more rapidly in the cold, dry air. Unlike on a hot summer day when you are sweating profusely, most people assume your body isn’t losing fluids as rapidly in the winter when you don’t sweat as much. Colder weather has also been linked to reducing the thirst response in your body, so you may be less likely to drink water.
In the colder weather, your body will lose more fluids through respiratory water loss than on hot summer days. When you can see your breath in the cold air, that is water vapor your body is losing. Also, it is interesting to note that dehydration can impact those who swim, who cannot feel their body temperature as well.
How to Prevent Dehydration
There are a few proven ways to prevent dehydration. The first one is obviously to consume at least eight glasses of water a day. However, there is also a warning to not oversaturate yourself with water because too much water in the body can destroy cells as well. It is important to find a healthy balance and to avoid dehydration.
Have you ever had severe dehydration? Did you have a friend or someone that you trusted to take care of you, or someone you had to save from dehydration? Have you ever had to treat someone for dehydration? Is dehydration more of a problem in general? Comment below!