The telltale signs of dehydration

Published May 13, 2022, 9:13 AM

by Cheshire Que

Quench your thirst to prevent the dangers of dehydration

At birth, water makes up about 70 to 80 percent of our body composition. As we age, body water percentage diminishes but will remain approximately more than half of our body weight. The amount of body water we have may differ with gender, age, lean body mass, and body fat percentage. Higher body fat means lower body water percentage.

Water is the elixir of life. Experts say that an average person can survive without water for only three days. Dehydration can be fatal. It leads to imbalances, organ failure, and death. Unless one is cast away in a place with no access to potable water, no one will deliberately refuse to quench their thirst for three days, right? It is but natural to drink in response to your body’s sign of dehydration. Unfortunately, despite drinking water in response to a parched throat, many are still inadequately hydrated without them knowing it.

DRINK UP Recommended amount of fluid intake is about 15.5 cups for men while around 11.5 cups for women

There are many reasons we do not drink enough water every day. We are too busy to take a sip. It’s too much of a hassle to frequently visit the toilet. Water isn’t within our reach. We have so much on our minds and we can’t be bothered to keep track of our water intake. Some simply dislike the taste of water because it is bland, unflavored. The list goes on and on.

You may not be on “death row” due to dehydration but if you look closely, you may have been experiencing signs of dehydration or conditions that are brought about by lack of water intake without you knowing it.

Do you have frequent headaches or migraine attacks? Do you feel fatigued or seem to always lack the energy? Do you experience aches and pains, especially in your joints? Do you have unhealthy and dull skin? Are your cholesterol and blood glucose level above normal? Reflect on your water intake. You are probably dehydrated.

Are you experiencing cravings, especially for salty snacks like chips? I’ve got news for you. You are not hungry. You are thirsty. The brain mistakes thirst for hunger. Before you grab that bag of chips, why don’t you go get a glass of water?

Water is vital to maintaining normal electrolyte levels in the body. These are minerals mainly sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate. They maintain the body’s normal pH (acid/base) balance, move nutrients into the cells for utilization, move toxins, and wastes from the cells for proper excretion from the body. Think of these electrolytes as part of a transport system. They are also needed to ensure that muscles, nerves, the heart, and brain will function optimally.

Water is lost through perspiration or sweating, urination, and by simply breathing. We lose more, however, when we exercise and engage in more physical activities, vomit, have diarrhea, and the like. Therefore, it is important that water and electrolytes are replenished as soon as possible.

As a rule of thumb, water intake should be around two to three liters a day or about eight to 10 glasses for an average adult. Another way of estimating water intake per day is to divide your weight in pound (lbs) by two to obtain the quantity in ounces of water intake per day. For example, a 120-pound individual will need about 60 ounces or 7.5 cups of water per day. Amount should be increased with exercise or during hot weather.

Individuals with heart failure, kidney problems, and those with edema or water retention, however, must immediately seek medical advice. Fluids may be restricted in these conditions.

Don’t wait until you get thirsty, intentionally drink water regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated and healthy.

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