The early stages of dehydration may present with symptoms that don't seem like much of a problem at first. However, these are your body's first warning signs of danger and need to be addressed right away. The most noticeable and essential of these is thirst.
Signs of Mild Dehydration
We all are taught to recognize dehydration by the sense of thirst. Your body's saliva production has decreased as a result of a lack of water, as evidenced by the parched or cottony sensation in your mouth and throat. You may be thinking, "but I don't get thirsty often". Wait! Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you're not thirsty- you don't need water. After a certain period of not drinking, thirst signals will turn off as a survival mechanism. As your water drinking habits improve, thirst signals will become more sensitive and respond quicker, as your body realizes that water is readily available.
Another common sign of dehydration is changes in your urine. Reduced water intake rapidly brings about diminished output as your body looks to ration water based on the rate you're absorbing it. The fact that your urine appears darker than usual is an indication that your body is storing water and excreting more concentrated urine. This is dangerous for prolonged periods of time, as your body is not filtering out toxins effectively and instead may be withholding more wastes in the body.
Signs of Moderate Dehydration
Do you feel fatigued or sluggish? Theres a good chance you are dehydrated. The side effects of dehydration become more extreme and difficult to overlook as your body loses water. One normal side effect is an unexplainable and overpowering sensation of fatigue. You might feel depleted or languid even following a decent night's rest if you are not hydrated enough.
Dry skin? Because it helps the skin's protective barrier function properly and promotes cell turnover, hydration is essential for healthy skin. Your skin, which depends critically on water to remain elastic and supple, will start to become dry, cracked, and heal slower when injured if you are dehydrated. Dull skin, loss of elasticity, thinning of the skin, cracked soles of feet, deeper wrinkles in the hands and face, and roughness of the skin are all signs the skin is dehydrated.
Dizzy? In advancing stages of dehydration, you may feel transient dizziness if standing up abruptly or changing positions too quickly. This shaky sensation occurs when fluid loss is severe enough to causes a drop in blood volume, straining your circulatory system. Dizziness occurs when there is a lack of blood flow, and thus, lack of oxygen to your brain.
Muscle cramps? Dehydration changes the electrolyte balance in the blood, which results in skewed electrolyte ratios for your muscles. The muscles rely on sodium and potassium as well as hydration to contract and release. This can result in painful muscle spasms and cramps.
Serious Lack of hydration Side effects
If dehydration is not corrected, serious consequences will result. Severe or prolonged dehydration can lead to development of frequent urinary tract infections, kidney stones, permanent kidney damage, seizures, increased heart rate, and confusion.
How to Prevent and Treat Dehydration
In the case of dehydration, the proverb "prevention is better than cure" rings especially true.
Make sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day. The "eight glasses per day" standard is a decent starting point, yet every individual has different requirements, generally contingent upon age, gender, weight, activity level, metabolism, and health. For instance, someone who has an active day job, on their feet throughout the day, and lives in a dry climate (Nevada) might require more water than somebody who is sedentary or lives in colder, more humid climate.
Drink plenty of fluids when you're ill, especially if you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Because you are losing more water than usual in these conditions, you will need to replenish your body's water supply more frequently.
Active Individuals: To meet their body's needs, people who engage in intense physical activity need more water. It is essential to drink an adequate number of liquids to make up for the extra water loss from sweat during and after work out..
A great way to help yourself remember to drink water is to fill up a 1000ml bottle of water (such as a Nalgene) and mark out times on the bottle. These times indicate where the water level should be by that time of day. Make this a game and see how many days you can keep up. Aim to drink 2-3 full bottles of water per day. If you can finish a bottle by noon, you'll be at a great start to the day. You'll be amazed how good you feel, and how you may start to actually crave water.
Remaining ideally hydrated is a huge part of staying healthy and preventing illness. Having an understanding of the signs and ways to avoid dehydration can go a long way toward general wellbeing. By giving your body the water it needs, you can maintain energy levels, think clearer, be more productive, protect your skin, support your immune system, slow aging, and prevent disease.
Please don't wait until your body tells you it needs water. Make drinking water a regular part of your day. If you need help staying hydrated, want to make sure your bodies needs are met, or want to replenish electrolytes, thats where LifeDrip comes in. Give us a call and our team can help make recommendations based on whats right for your body.