Are You Dehydrated?
Dehydration is the cause of more maladies than just feeling a bit light headed in the sun, and hydration is the route to many more benefits than you had probably realized. After all, water makes up 75 percent of the human body and is found “inside cells, within blood vessels, and between cells.” Headaches, anxiety, constipation, and tiredness can all be the result of dehydration and solved by drinking more water.
So, what really is dehydration?
What is Dehydration?
Basically, dehydration is when your body does not have enough water, when it is losing more fluids than it is taking in. So, if it is an irregularly hot day and you’re sweating rocks, but you’re drinking a regular amount of water, well then, you’re flying downhill with no brakes into dehydration station. The amount of water missing from your body decides just how mild or severe your dehydration is, whether you are saying “gee I could do with a glass of water” or “why haven’t I gone to the bathroom for four days?”
You can lose water throughout the day because of a series of normal reasons, like defecating, sweating, urinating, and crying. None of these activities at a regular level will really dehydrate you, particularly as you drink and eat throughout the day, but even low levels can cause headaches and dehydration and in excessive amounts, they can be dangerous.
As you can probably tell, the two important parts in causing dehydration are the amounts of fluids you lose and the water that you don’t drink. Causes of fluid loss are more extensive, but not taking on enough fluids can occur when you are busy and forget to drink or just don’t realize you’re thirsty — this is more common for older people. A common instance of dehydration is going out for the day without water and there being no facilities around to find water.
What Causes Dehydration
Sweating regulates body temperature by releasing water and is the primary way of getting rid of excess body heat. The average person has around 2.6 million sweat glands in their skin and whether you realize it or not, you are always sweating. The main causes of excessive sweating are hot temperature, physical exercise, and nerve stimulation, like anxiety, so it is important pay attention to how much you’re replenishing your fluid levels in the heat or after exercise.
This is the most dangerous cause of dehydration as it’s the most common cause of dehydration related deaths. Diarrhea prevents the large intestine from absorbing water from food matter, so instead it is excreted out.
Urinating is a straightforward way to lose fluids, as you regularly relieve yourself of waste and excessive fluids. But, increased urination can lead to dehydration, as a result of “undiagnosed of uncontrolled diabetes” or certain medications.
Urine color is deemed one of the better indicators of dehydration. The lighter the urine, the more hydrated you are. So, if your urine is dark, you need to drink.
Headaches and Hangovers
On the whole, what you’re feeling when you’re slothing on the couch after a long night drinking can usually be attributed to dehydration. Drinking water can relieve you of your symptoms within 30 minutes.
Brain Fog and Anxiety
The brain is 90 percent water, so it is little wonder that it struggles when dehydrated. In fact, it is the organ that shows the greatest signs of dehydration when you are dehydrated. A lack of water can lead to a lack of clarity in decision-making, which can become stressful when we can’t deal with all the information being thrown at us.
Your mum might often tell you that, when you’re bingeing chocolate you don’t need because you’re hungry, really all you need is a glass of water. Annoyingly, she is exactly right.
Organs like the liver can’t release stored glucose if you are dehydrated, which means you begin to actually crave food when what you need is water. In fact, your body often confuses hunger and thirst.
How to Prevent Dehydration
…drinking water? Well, yes obviously, but it isn’t as straightforward as just drinking loads and loads of water. It is recommended that the average man should drink 3.7 liters of water per day, whilst it is 2.7 liters per day for women. This is not limited to drinking just water, though, as you can gain water by drinking other liquids, too. It is important not to drink too much, to, as you can overhydrate, which dehydrates your sodium levels.
Here are some useful tips for staying hydrated.
Taking water out with you at the beginning of the day will keep you in the habit of drinking throughout the day, even if you don’t realize. Indeed, with the growing (and justified) backlash against bottled water, more places are opening up to refilling your water bottle, and it is more likely you will water fountains out and about.
Run of the mill snacks like chocolate and chips can be swapped out for foods with high water content, such as fruits. They are better for you anyway, obviously, but fruits like oranges, melon, and watermelon have the added bonus of being great sources of water, too, killing two birds with one stone. Additionally, it is worth eating more vegetables as well. Some fruit and vegetables are found to be 90 percent water.
And If You Don’t Like Water
Well, then it is worth remembering the great sources of water that fruit and vegetables can be, and that water isn’t the only liquid that can rehydrate you. If water isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe a cup of tea is. Teas and flavored drinks can work, too, but stay clear of that dehydrating rascal coffee.