As you probably know, water makes up 2/3 of our body weight and we cannot live without it for more than few days. Every cell, organ, and tissue in the body is water-dependent. In fact, water plays important roles in the organism like maintenance of body fluid, regulation of body temperature, lubrication of eyes and joints, protection of tissues, spinal cord, and joints, removal of toxins and waste, improvement of digestion, control of calorie intake, and maintenance of the skin’s health.
When the body lacks water, it begins malfunctioning. So, hydration is crucial. In order to be hydrated enough, you need to intake fluids and consume foods rich in water. There are times when the body loses weight like during workout, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, frequent urination, diabetes, etc.
These conditions lead to electrolyte imbalance in the body which further leads to dehydration and impeded bodily functions. Unfortunately, people are often unaware that they lack water. In order to recognize when your body is in need of water, take a look at the following symptoms:
Headaches and lightheadedness
A decrease in the body’s hydration might reduce the amount of fluid surrounding the brain, which guards it from mild bumps and movement. Also, dehydration is known to lower the oxygen and blood flow to the brain. According to a recent study published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, one of the possible reasons for migraines and tension-type headaches can be insufficient water in the body. So, the next time you’re about to reach for a painkiller, you should drink a glass of water instead. If the cause for headache was dehydration, the headache will soon go away.
Lack of water in the brain can have a negative influence on your decision making, mood, and memory. Moreover, dehydration can lead to forgetfulness and trouble focusing, thinking, and communicating-known symptoms of brain fog. A 2013 study published in Clinical Autonomic Research, dehydration, along with fatigue, lack of sleep, and prolonged standing, is one of the most frequent triggers of brain fog.
Bad breath and dry mouth
The body produces less saliva due to lack of water. Hence, this causes growth of bacteria in the mouth which leads to bad breath.
Constipation and other digestive problems
Water lubricates the digestive system and cleanses it. In return, your bowel movements are regular and constipation is prevented. However, when there is fluid loss, the stool hardens and lack of water can also lead to heartburn and indigestion.
Before reaching for a snack the next time you experience a food craving, drink a glass of water. Namely, when the body is dehydrated, it sends false signals to the brain that you’re hungry, when you’re actually thirsty. As a consequence of dehydration, one can crave salty foods. Instead of eating a bag of chips, drink lemon water made with a juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp of salt, and a glass of water.
Reduced urination and change in color of urine
If you’re not going to the bathroom every few hours, you are probably lacking water. Healthy intake of water requires regular urination, from 4 to 7 times per day. Lack of urination might cause problems because urination is a way for the body to release toxins. When it comes to urine color, light-colored urine means that you intake enough fluids, whereas darkish urine means that your body is dehydrated.
Lack of water in the body can be the cause of low blood pressure and diminished oxygen supply in the body, including the brain. Insufficient water amounts in the body are known to lead to sleepiness, fatigue, and lethargy. Also, when a person is dehydrated, the body is additionally stressed and it has to work much harder on ensuring proper blood circulation, transportation of nutrients, and breathing, which results in tiredness.
Joint and muscle ache
The joints and cartilages are consisted of 80% water, and, if the body is in need of water, the bones begin grinding against each other, thus, causing joint pain. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that the amount of water is crucial in modulating the hormonal and metabolic responses to resistance exercises.
Dry skin and lips
The skin requires enough amounts of water to remain in good condition. So, low levels of water can lead to less sweating, which means that the body cannot remove dirt and oil accumulated on the skin. Unfortunately, this increases the chances of psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Also, dehydration may manifest through dryness of the lips.
Dehydration affects the heart rate. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that dehydration has a negative influence on performance. For every 1% change in body weight resulting from dehydration, the heart rated changes in an average of 3 beats per minute. Lack of water can also lead to low blood pressure and fast heart palpitations due to the additional stress on the body. This may cause panic and anxiety.
HOW TO PREVENT DEHYDRATION
- Drink enough water and other fluids daily.
- Begin your day with a large glass of water and also drink one large glass before each meal.
- Set a reminder on your phone if you tend to forget to drink water.
- Always carry a water bottle with you, no matter where you’re going.
- Avoid alcohol, energy drinks, and caffeinated beverages which are known to cause dehydration.
- Always consult your physician if you experience strong thirst, dizziness, not passing urine for more than 8 hours, and a rapid and weak pulse.
- If you experience vomiting, diarrhea, and fever, increase the intake of fluids to prevent serious dehydration.