Are you Drinking Enough Water?
You know you’re at risk for dehydration after playing sports on a hot day or when you’ve been sick with a stomach bug, but dehydration can happen to anyone in any health condition, in any weather condition at any time for someone that isn’t drinking enough. Even mild dehydration has negative effects on your health and if not treated, severe dehydration can lead to heart palpitations, seizures, blood clots; the list goes on…
An overwhelming two-thirds of your body is made up of water. Don’t get enough H20 in your system, and dehydration sets in, causing your body to no longer function properly. Mild dehydration is easily treated by drinking water, but don’t let it get beyond this point or you’ll be in a world of trouble.
It’s recommended that you drink 2 litres of water every day or around eight glasses of water. Find a way to keep track of your fluid intake until you become used to drinking enough water. And remember, this is the recommended amount, but if you’re exercising or doing a lot of outside work in the sun you should definitely be drinking more.
Here are a few obvious and perhaps not so obvious signs of dehydration.
Don’t ignore your feelings of thirst. Losing one to two percent of your body’s water will make you thirsty. You don’t necessarily have to be doing anything for this feeling to hit you, either. Even sleeping with your window open can cause you to wake up thirsty. If your mouth feels dry or sticky or your tongue feels parched or swollen, take this as a clear sign you need to replenish your fluids.
You remember brushing and flossing this morning but still your breath smells? A common cause of bad breath is dehydration. Without enough body fluids, your mouth isn’t able to produce enough saliva and bacteria begin to build up. Sip on a water bottle throughout the day to help ward off bad breath.
Can’t seem to muster the energy to do your normal activities? Feelings of weakness, fatigue, or sluggishness are signs that your cells may be craving more water. This is why it’s so important to drink water before going to exercise, otherwise you could end up harming yourself because your body isn’t working at maximum efficiency. Drink a glass of cold water and see if your energy returns.
Dizziness or Fainting
Light-headedness, dizziness, or passing out are all signs of dehydration. Without enough fluid in your blood, your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and you’re at risk for fainting. If your vision is getting spotty or you’re seeing a lot of twisting hallways, be sure to sit down and catch your breath, then drink some water and see if that does the trick!
Decrease in Bodily Fluids
Notice you’re not using the bathroom as often and when you do go, your pee is darker than usual? Or have you sensed you’re not sweating as much as normal? These are two obvious signs you could very well be dehydrated. Sweating is your body’s way of keeping cool when it’s hot or when you’re exercising. You need to make sure you’re sweating the right amount otherwise you could get overheated and pass out, and that’s the last thing we want. The colour of your urine is a good indicator of your body’s fluid levels. Light yellow or clear is ideal. If your urine is a dark colour, take it as a sign you need to drink more throughout the day.
A lack of blood volume can lead to dry or flushed-looking skin. When you stop sweating as much, your skin lacks moisture. Remember, you don’t have to be outside on hot day to get dehydrated. It can happen while you’re sitting at home on a cold day if you’re not drinking enough. Before lathering on lotion, stop and take a big drink of water.
A headache may be a sign you’re not drinking enough water. Your brain is surrounded by fluids! If those fluids are running low, the increased pressure may cause a headache. Instead of reaching for the pain reliever medication, drink a big glass of water and lie down for a few minutes. You may find that your headache goes away easily, and you just saved your liver the work.
As dehydration progresses, it can become an emergency medical situation. Seek medical help immediately if you become irritable, delirious, or confused; your eyes look sunken in; your skin loses its elasticity; you experience a drop in blood pressure; your breathing and heartbeat increase; or you develop a sudden fever.