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Dehydration - The Signs, Causes and Mouth Watering Solutions

We're back with another exciting post to quench your thirst for knowledge. Today we're diving deep into the world of H2O to unravel its mystery. So, fill your water bottle, as the day's topic is DEHYDRATION.

Signs You May Be Dehydrated

Ever feel a little off, but you can't quite understand why? The answer might be more straightforward than you think. It's like the old saying: if you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. When your body loses more fluid than you consume, dehydration happens.

If your body's water levels decrease, it can disrupt the balance of minerals (such as salts and sugars) in your body, which can impact its proper functioning.1 

Did you know that water constitutes more than two-thirds of a healthy human body? It plays a vital role in lubricating joints and eyes, aiding digestion, eliminating waste and toxins, and maintaining healthy skin.1

So, let's look at some tell-tale signs that you're running low on the good old H2O.

Unquenchable Thirst: This one's a no-brainer. If you're frequently feeling parched, your body is screaming for hydration.1

Tired and Cranky: Feeling fatigued or moody? Dehydration might be your unsuspecting nemesis.1

Dry Skin and Lips: Your skin is the largest organ in your body and must stay hydrated. Dry, flaky skin or chapped lips are often an S.O.S. from your body for water.2

Dark Urine: The color of your urine is an easy and private dehydration test. A dark yellow to amber color could indicate you need more fluids.1

It's crucial to pay attention to your body's signals. If you're exhibiting these symptoms, you likely require hydration. However, how did we reach the point of dehydration?

man sweating

Some Of The Causes of Dehydration

Excessive Sweating: When it's hot or when you're physically active, sweating cools your body. But if you don't replace the water you lose through sweat, you can become dehydrated.3

Heat Exhaustion or Cramps: If you participate in strenuous physical activity or exercise in the heat, your body loses more fluids than normal, which can cause dehydration.4 Therefore, it is important to drink ample fluids before, during and after exercising.

Diarrhea and Vomiting: If you experience sudden and intense diarrhea or vomiting, you may lose a significant amount of water and electrolytes. This can result in dehydration, which is especially risky for children and older adults.5 Should you be experiencing a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, we recommend you seek medical attention.

Increased urination: Certain medications, such as diuretics and some blood pressure medications can lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate more.5 

Remember to always speak with your healthcare practitioner about potential side effects of any new medication they're prescribing.

Insufficient Intake of Fluids: This is especially common among older adults and people who work or exercise outside. As we age, our body's ability to conserve water decreases and our sense of thirst might not be as sharp.5

woman drinking water

How Much Water Should I Be Consuming?

The "8x8" rule is famous because it's easy to remember. This guideline suggests drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, equating to about 2 liters, or half a gallon. But remember, individual needs can vary. Factors like climate, physical activity, age, and overall health can influence your hydration needs.6

For instance, If you are a marathon runner in Arizona or expecting a baby, you may need to drink more water. A useful guideline is to drink when you feel thirsty. Also, if you exercise, make sure to hydrate yourself before, during, and after your workout.

While the general rule of 8x8 for water consumption is popular, it doesn't fit every individual perfectly as their needs may vary based on several factors. It's always best to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

woman typing on laptop

What Water Does To The Body

Water, the elixir of life, is not just for quenching thirst. It plays an integral role in keeping our body ticking. Let's take a gander at how this humble, often-overlooked beverage helps us stay in tip-top shape:

Nutrient Transport: Water is your body's transport system, carrying nutrients to all vital body organs.7

Body Temperature Regulator: It helps maintain body temperature by enabling sweat and respiration, which is crucial in hot climates or during intense physical activities.7

Brain Function: Our brain is about 75% water! Some studies have even looked into the relationship between dehydration and overall cognitive function and performance.8

Skin Health: Adequate hydration can help maintain skin elasticity and combat the appearance of wrinkles.9

Never underestimate the power of staying hydrated. As the temperature rises this summer, let's all commit to sipping more of nature's favorite beverage. So, how do we ensure we are adequately hydrated and have fun while doing it, you ask? 

3 glasses of water

Making Hydration Fun!

Drinking water doesn't have to be a monotonous task. With a bit of creativity, you can make hydration enjoyable. Here are a few fun tips to keep you happily sipping all day long:

Flavor Infusion: Add slices of fruits like lemons, strawberries, or cucumbers to your water. You can also add herbs such as mint for a refreshing twist.

Fancy Ice Cubes: Freeze fruits or herbs into your ice cubes for added flavor and visual appeal as they melt.

Hydration Gadgets: Consider using a Smart water bottle that glows or sends reminders to help you drink more water.

Set Challenges: Set daily hydration goals and track your progress with a water-drinking app.

Sip in Style: Buy a water bottle in your favorite color or pattern. You're more likely to use it if you like how it looks.

Try Sparkling Water: If you miss the fizz of sodas, try plain or flavored sparkling water.

Eat Your Water: Consume water-rich foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, and grapes. These can supplement your water intake.

Drink Herbal Tea: Herbal teas are hydrating and come in a variety of flavors. Just make sure they are caffeine-free, as caffeine can have a diuretic effect.

Remember, the goal is to stay hydrated. Find what works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. Happy hydrating!

So, until our next deep dive, keep your water bottles full and your bodies happily hydrated. Sign up for our newsletter for more health and wellness information and tips.

References

  1. NHS Inform. (February 2023). Dehydration. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration (Accessed: 21 June 2023).
  2. Shaheen N.A., et al. (2018). BMC Public Health. 18: 1346. 
  3. Mayo Clinic. (July 2020). Mayo Clinic Q and A: Safety tips for hot weather exercise.https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167  (Accessed: 4 July 2023).
  4. CDC. (September 2017). Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html  (Accessed: 4 July 2023).
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Dehydration. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086  (Accessed: 4 July 2023).
  6. Mayo Clinic. (October 2022). Water: How much should you drink every day? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256  (Accessed: 3 July 2023).
  7. USGS (May 2019). The Water in You: Water and the Human Body. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects (Accessed: 11 July 2023).
  8. Zhang J., et al. (2018). Int J Environ Res Public Health. 15(7): 1447.
  9. Palma L., et al. (2015). Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 8: 413-421.