What is dehydration?
Dehydration is the condition where your body loses too much liquid. It occurs when the fluid loss exceeds fluid intake, leaving the body dehydrated and unable to function properly.
Having enough liquid intake is important as water affects our body’s functions. Besides preventing dehydration, water intake can also hinder an individual from experiencing mood swings, intense heat, stomach aches, and kidney stones. Here are a few factors that imply the importance of water to your body:
1. Water helps in maintaining a stable body temperature. 2. It provides moisture to the eyes, nose, and mouth. 3. Water helps you manage your weight. 4. It enhances the flow of blood oxygen. 5. It facilitates nutrient absorption.
Not having enough liquid intake could be harmful to your health. Before knowing what you could do to avoid dehydration, let’s discuss its causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.
Diarrhea is a common condition that affects almost everyone at some point. Bacteria and viruses could cause it, or it could also be a side effect of a drug. If you’re taking antibiotics then this is a common side effect.
Most diarrhea goes away in a few days. But severe diarrhea can be a sign of a bigger health problem and must be checked by a doctor. If diarrhea isn’t taken care of, it can lead to dehydration, which has health risks.
Diarrhea is when you have loose and watery stools. You could lose body fluids rapidly because of this condition. The amount of water you take should be proportional to the amount of liquids you lose.
Vomiting is the act of forcing stomach contents out of the mouth, either on purpose or involuntarily. The body also releases an excessive amount of liquid through vomiting. Similar to diarrhea, prolonged vomiting could lead to complications such as dehydration.
When you feel nauseous, you might not be able to take a lot of water all at once. To avoid being dehydrated when constantly vomiting, take a sip or just small amounts of water frequently until you feel well. Drinking ice-cold water could also relieve your nausea.
• Excessive sweating
When you sweat, you lose some water from your body. It is also possible to become dehydrated if you engage in strenuous activity without adequately replacing the fluids you lose along the way. The sweat and liquid you lose increase when the weather is too hot.
• Excessive urinating
If you urinate a lot due to a disease like diabetes or use medications like diuretics, you will likely become dehydrated. Additionally, the color of your urine can help determine whether or not your body is getting enough fluids.
A transparent to a light-yellow shade of urine pertains that you are hydrated enough. But an amber and a burnt orange shade could mean you are dehydrated.
It’s always best to stay hydrated when you have fever since the likelihood of becoming dehydrated increases in proportion to the severity of your fever.
• Elderly people
The feeling of thirst and the amount of water we have in our bodies decreases as we get older. As a result, the risk of becoming dehydrated increases significantly for people of advanced age compared to younger generations. According to Anne Vanderbilt, CNS, once a senior starts to feel thirsty, it is already a sign that they are becoming dehydrated.
• Babies and kids
Children are more vulnerable to becoming ill than adults. Fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common causes of dehydration, and children are most prone to them.
• Patients with chronic diseases
Patients who have diabetes tend to urinate more frequently, as was mentioned earlier. Patients suffering from kidney disease and cystic fibrosis tend to sweat and urinate more frequently and are also prone to being dehydrated.
There are also medications for patients with chronic diseases that make them sweat and urinate more often.
• Physically active individuals
People who work out or engage in other physical activities outdoors are at an increased risk of dehydrating due to the increased sweating they produce. Additionally, prolonged exposure to heat can also be a cause of dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration
• Extremely thirsty
• Dryness of the mouth
• Less urinating and sweating
• Urine with a burnt-orange color
• Dry and dull skin
You lose water constantly throughout the day through breathing, sweating, urinating, and having bowel movements. Consuming liquids can help you replenish your body’s water supply, which is essential to maintaining healthy bodily functions.
Medical professionals and health dieticians always emphasize drinking eight to ten (8-10) glasses of water every day. It all depends on the things you do regularly to determine whether you require a greater amount of water or whether a lower one will do.
It is also important to listen to your body’s needs and be aware of how many fluids you have lost. You don’t have to wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you have been out in the sun for too long or had intense exercise, you might need to drink more than the average eight to ten (8-10) glasses daily.
In spite of the fact that beverages typically account for eighty percent of your daily water intake, the remaining twenty percent of your water intake naturally comes from food. Consuming many fruits and vegetables with a high percentage of water is one of the most effective ways to avoid dehydration.
Cucumber, apples, tomatoes, peaches, celery, lettuce, watermelon, and zucchini are food that is rich in water that you should try to add to your daily meals.
Coffee, tea, and soda are all examples of diuretics, which are substances that cause an increased need to urinate. Consuming these beverages on their own won’t force you to become dehydrated; however, they will affect the volume of liquid lost through frequent urination.
You may drink less water due to drinking cold carbonated drinks with a high carbonation level. This is because cold carbonated beverages with a high carbonation level may be more effective at quenching thirst. Despite the fact that these drinks might satisfy your thirst, they actually cause the symptoms of dehydration.
Alcohol is another diuretic that changes the composition and balance of your body’s fluids. It even removes bodily fluids in your kidneys, ureter, and bladder. Consuming a lot of alcohol drinks all at once can make you dehydrated, especially when you don’t drink water.
Consuming alcohol when one’s stomach is empty is another potential cause of dehydration because the bloodstream will absorb the alcohol in just a few minutes.
Drinking too much alcohol will also result in excessive urinating, which can make you dehydrated and unwell after a night of drinking.
You must drink a large amount of water before, during, and after your workout. The amount of fluid lost from your body due to sweating can be replaced by the amount of water you consume.
Not only will drinking enough water keep you hydrated, but it will also keep your heart rate and body temperature from rising to unhealthy levels and improve your performance while engaging in physical activity.