Water is a vital part of life; it makes up to 78% of our body’s composition and is necessary for us to function properly. As essential water is to our health and well-being, more and more people are drinking far less water than they should, thanks to the popularity of alternative drinks like soda and juice. In fact, more than half of all US adults don’t drink enough water, with only 22% ingesting the recommended amount. When you take that data into consideration, it’s no wonder so many people go through life feeling lethargic and absent-minded. How can dehydration cause you bodily harm? The answers may shock you!
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is when your body loses more fluid than it takes in, causing it to function at a decreased capacity. Many people don’t realize they should drink water steadily throughout the day, even if they don’t feel like they need it. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! The Mayo Clinic suggests men drink around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) and women drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of water daily, which is well below the average adult consumption.
Who Is at Risk of Experiencing Dehydration?
The short answer is everyone. Everyone can suffer from dehydration if they fail to drink enough water throughout the day. However, there are certain people whose risk for dehydration is higher than average:
- Older adults who lose their sense of thirst
- People with chronic illnesses
- Adults taking medicine that causes frequent urination or sweat
- Infants and young children
- People who exercise in hot weather
Damaging Effects of Dehydration
Dehydration can wreak havoc on our bodies, so it’s essential to understand why drinking enough water throughout the day is vital. Bodily damage from lack of water consumption can cause the following complications.
Our body relies on electrolytes like sodium and potassium to carry electrical signals to our cells. When our electrolytes are unbalanced, these electrical messages become erratic. They lead to involuntary muscle contractions and occasionally loss of consciousness.
In warm and humid climates, dehydration can cause heat illnesses very quickly. Our bodies sweat in response to higher temperatures to cool us down. If there isn’t enough fluid in our bodies, we can’t produce enough sweat to lower our internal bodily temperature. Inadequate sweating can lead to dizziness, heat cramps or exhaustion, and heatstroke.
Kidney And Urinary Tract Problems
Without water to prompt our body to produce urine, our bladder and kidneys cannot function properly. Urine helps flush toxins from our bodies, which prevents infections like UTIs. When the body is dehydrated, these toxins build up, causing pain and possibly life-threatening infections, kidney stones, and possibly kidney failure.
Low Blood Volume
One of the most severe conditions that can occur from dehydration is low blood volume shock or hypovolemic shock. This condition happens when you have low blood volume from lack of fluid, causing a drop in your blood pressure and the amount of oxygen inside your body. Although rare, at-risk individuals are more susceptible to this terrifying condition.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
Although there are common symptoms of dehydration, everyone responds differently when their fluid levels drop, so it can be challenging to know when it occurs. Older adults may not experience feelings of thirst, making dehydration even more dangerous. Typically, for adults, symptoms to look out for include:
- Dark Urine
- Extreme Thirst
- Infrequent Urination
When You Should See a Doctor
You should call your doctor immediately if you have the following symptoms:
- Inability To Keep Fluids Down
- Diarrhea For More Than 24 Hours
- Bloody or Black Stool
- Irritability Or Disorientation with Increased Sleepiness or Inactivity
When To Drink More Fluid
Preventing dehydration is essential as we age, since our bodies are unable to adequately function without proper fluid levels. There are circumstances where it’s imperative that you increase your water consumption to avoid the possible life-threatening symptoms mentioned above; these include:
When you exercise, you must replenish the fluids you lose. Although drinking water throughout and after is good, the best way to avoid dehydration is hydrating prior to your workout. An excellent way to determine if you’ve consumed enough water is by looking at your urine. If it’s clear or highly diluted, you’re well-hydrated.
Experiencing Diarrhea or Vomiting
When you experience vomiting or diarrhea, it’s incredibly important to rehydrate as quickly as possible. Don’t wait until you’re dehydrated, and the symptoms worsen.
Older adults are more susceptible to dehydration due to illness, with even minor sicknesses causing fluid loss. If you have bronchitis, the flu, a bladder or kidney infection, or any other illness, increase your fluid intake and allow yourself plenty of rest.
In Hot or Cold Weather
Many people realize that it’s important to increase water consumption in hot and humid weather, but did you know it’s equally essential in cold weather? The dry air that often accompanies colder temperatures pulls moisture from your body, causing dehydration. It’s particularly dangerous at higher altitudes, so increasing water intake shouldn’t stop during winter.
Dehydration can have devastating effects on the body, especially for older adults or those at higher risk due to illness. Many times, you may not experience thirst, making it easier to forget to drink throughout the day, which can cause painful and dangerous side effects.
Don’t wait until you experience symptoms of dehydration to increase your fluid intake. Make a point to drink more water daily, starting from when you wake up until right before bed. You may experience frequent urination at first, but as your body adjusts to the higher level of fluids, you won’t have to use the bathroom every ten minutes!
Once you are hydrated, you will find you have increased energy and excitement for life. Ensure your body is up to the task by taking JointFuel360 with one of your glasses of water. JointFuel360 will reduce joint inflammation, providing support and increased mobility so that you can move more. Join the thousands of men and women who are hydrated and happy thanks to drinking more water and taking JointFuel360!