The human body is about 70% water so it is impossible to survive more than 72 hours without this vital liquid. Water is essential for every part of our body, tissue, cell or organ.
The following are the benefits of drinking enough water:
- Balanced body fluids
- Regulate and maintain body temperature
- Improved waste product and toxin elimination
- Improved digestion
- Controlled calorie intake
- Hydrated and youthful skin
- Healthy tissues, spinal cord and joints
- Lubricated joints and eyes
Given the fact that all of our organs need water to function properly, it is extremely important to hydrate your body properly. You can do this by drinking lots of fluids and eating foods rich in water.
However, during some situations or activities such as diarrhea, vomiting, frequent urination, diabetes, physical activity, excessive sweating etc. the body loses more water.
If the body is dehydrated it is unable to function properly and an electrolyte imbalance occurs. Many people don’t even know the symptoms of dehydration which can help you prevent further complication if you notice them and act on time.
These 10 are the most common and most important dehydration symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
Lack of proper hydration has negative effect on the heart rate and function. Less water in the body causes the blood to thicken thus reduces the plasma volume which leads to increased heart rate.
This was confirmed in a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. The researchers discovered that dehydration could cause change in heartbeat of 3 beats per minute for every 1% change in the body weight.
Besides this, dehydration also causes changes in the electrolyte levels which increase heart palpitation due to the extra stress the body goes under. This can also be causing fear, anxiety and panic attacks.
In case you experience these symptoms you should slowly sip some water until your condition improves. If the symptoms still persist you should consult your doctor.
- Dry mouth and bad breath
The saliva has antibacterial properties and its production is stimulated in case of dehydration. Since there are bacteria that live in the mouth, dehydration can also cause bad breath. Dry mouth is another symptom that occurs because water has the role of a lubricator of the mucus membranes in the throat.
- Abrupt food cravings
Thirst and hunger can sometimes be mistaken. In some cases our body can crave food when it actually needs water. Therefore, if you start feeling the urge to eat something, drink 1 glass of water first to see if you really are hungry.
The loss of electrolytes due to dehydration also increases the need of salty food intake. If you start experiencing salt cravings, consume sports drink with sodium or prepare a mixture from lemon juice, glass of water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
If the glycogen production is reduced you may also experience food cravings, so consume fruits that are sweet and rich in water such as berries, watermelon and papaya.
- Joint and muscle pain
Our joints and cartilage are made of 80% water. Dehydration can also cause joint pain because it increases the friction between the bones.
Thus, proper hydration enables the joints to move easily without pain even during physical activities such as jumping and running. In case you are dehydrated you can also experience muscle cramps and spasms.
- Headaches and dizziness
Dizziness and migraines are also symptoms of dehydration because of the reduced amount of liquid that surrounds your brain which protects it from mild knocks.
During dehydration the oxygen flow to the brain is reduced and as a result you may experience headaches.
The Handbook of Clinical Neurology published a report in 2010 where the link between dehydration and severe headaches was proven. If you are experiencing a headache due to dehydration, instead of taking a pill drink a glass of water which can be just as effective.
- Constipation and digestive issues
A story published in 2003 by The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition explained the importance of hydration for preventing constipation.
The digestive system is made of tissues and cells too which need water in order to function properly. Water is essential for a healthy gastro-intestinal tract; it promotes healthy bowel movement and prevents constipation.
Lack of fluids causes hardened stool and constipation. Diarrhea and vomiting can also lead to dehydration which can cause indigestion or acid reflux.
- Fatigue and lethargy
Your body is more alert and energetic if it is properly hydrated. Lack of fluids reduces the blood pressure and oxygen supply in the body which cause lethargy, fatigue and sleepiness.
Nutrient transportation to the cells is also affected by dehydration and the body will need more energy to sustain it which leads to fatigue.
- Reduced need for urination and changed urine color
If you don’t feel the need to urinate every few hours you may be dehydrated. A properly dehydrated body feels the need to urinate 4-7 times a day. In case you don’t, the toxin levels in your body will become increased.
The urine color will change too to dark yellow or amber colored. The urine color of properly hydrated urine is clear and light.
- Dry skin and lips
Dehydration makes your skin dry and it reduces its elasticity. Lack of water also means less sweat and reduced elimination of oil build up on the skin.
Not drinking enough water can cause skin issues such as acne, psoriasis and eczema which happen because of the inability of the body to remove the toxins. Dry and chapped lips are another common sign of dehydration.
- Brain fog and poor concentration
Besides headaches, dehydration can also affect the brain function thus have negative effects on your memory, decision-making skills and your mood.
The Clinical Autonomic Research published a study in 2013 which explained the link between dehydration and brain fog.
Another study published in 2011 by the British Journal has proven that dehydration can also cause mood swings.
Brain fog causes difficulty in communication, thinking and focusing and also forgetfulness.
The amount of water you need to drink every day depends of your physical activity, your overall health and the climate where you live.
However, drinking plenty of water is very important, so always start your day by drinking 1 glass and then drink 1 glass of water before every meal.
You should also carry a bottle of water anywhere you go. Consuming fruits and vegetables rich in water is also an excellent way of hydrating your body. To prevent dehydration reduce your alcohol, caffeinated and energy drinks intake.
In case of diarrhea, vomiting and fever always remember to drink even more water.
If you experience symptoms such as extreme thirst, rapid or weak pulse, dizziness or no need to urinate, consult your doctor immediately.