The human body consists of nearly 70% water, so it’s no wonder that a lack of water can cause it some problems. We lose water all day long, by sweating, urinating and through the moisture that escapes from our nose and mouth when we breathe and talk. Dehydration occurs when we are losing more water than we are taking in, and it can cause mild symptoms such as lack of concentration and energy. If you continue to take in too little water, then it can develop into chronic dehydration, which can be fatal. So, as the days start to get longer and warmer, and we will be spending more time in the sun, here are ten things that everyone should know about dehydration.
1. What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
The early signs that you have dehydration are, of course, an increased thirst and a dry mouth. As dehydration progresses, it can also lead to dizziness, a feeling of weakness, palpitations, rapid breathing, confusion and fainting.
2. What you should do if someone becomes dehydrated?
The earlier you can spot that a person is dehydrated, the better. If you are out, on a hike, for example, and you think that a person has become dehydrated, then the first thing to do is to get them into some shade as soon as possible. Loosen their clothing and get them to drink small sips of water. Do not apply ice packs, because this will make the person shiver and that may warm up their bodies even more.
3. Dehydration can cause pain
If you are dehydrated, you might feel pain in the joints, experience a severe headache or stomach cramps. This is because the body needs water to remove acidic waste and, with insufficient water, the nerves in the body will be affected by the excess acidic waste and that will cause pain.
4. Tiredness can be a sign of dehydration
Even just a small drop in the water content in your body can cause you to feel tired and impair your mental abilities. In a study conducted by Loughborough University, researchers found that just 5% drop in water levels in the body can lead to 30% drop in alertness. Just a 1.5% drop can lead to some reduction in cognitive functions.
5. Dehydration can aggravate allergies
When the levels of water drop in the body, the levels of histamine increase, which will aggravate allergies. In cases of chronic dehydration, the increases in histamine can cause inflammation and bronchial constriction in asthma sufferers.
6. Around 35% of your water comes from food
Rather surprisingly, 35% of the water that you take on board during an average day comes from your food and not from what you drink.
7. You can become dehydrated in the winter
Don’t be fooled into thinking dehydration can only occur in the warm, sunny weather, because you can become dehydrated in the cold weather too. Skiers and snowboarders often experience dehydration, due to the water they lose through sweating and breathing heavily.
8. You cannot store water in your body
It is important to drink regularly, because the body cannot store up water for use later on. Most of the fluids that you drink will escape your body, in one way or another, within only half an hour and that rate increases in hot weather wand when you are exercising.
9. Tap water just as good as bottled water
As most of the tap water in most western countries is perfectly safe to drink, you are potentially wasting your money buying bottled water. For hydration purposes, tap water is just as good as bottled water and it will do you no harm at all.
10. You can be over-hydrated too
You can have too much water in your body and that leads to over-hydration, which is called hyponatremia. The symptoms of this are very similar to dehydration and it can lead to weakness, disorientation and nausea. Some people have described the symptoms of hyponatremia as being very similar to those you experience when you have drunk too much alcohol.
Stay happy and healthy!