Dehydration, in a mild form, is a common occurrence in the United States due to the relative accessibility the public has to clean drinking water. However, it remains a serious public hazard in many parts of the world and is a significant cause of death when associated with other conditions, such as the flu, diarrhea or vomiting, all of which contribute to hydration declines and do not always occur with a rise in thirst, which is the most obvious signal that says your body is low in fluids.
Since dehydration is defined as a lack of fluid, it quickly affects all of the most obvious forms of liquid-oriented systems in your body, which include blood flow, the passing of urine, saliva, and sweat. Our bodies, however, are 75-78 percent water when we are born, a figure that drops to 65 percent after one year. As adults, our bodies are between 50 percent and 65 percent water. So, it follows that regular intake of high volumes of water is a critical health concern.
Moreover, it helps to understand how our bodies eliminate fluids, which is primarily by exhaling, sweating, and urinating. With these three methods, our bodies rid themselves of about a cup, two cups, and six cups of water per day, respectively. Needless to say, that would be the minimum amount of water that needs to be consumed each day to break even. The standard recommendation of water intake, however, is frequently called 8X8, a shorthand way to remind you to drink eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day. That’s a half-gallon of water per day.
Severe dehydration is, of course, fatal. But many warning signs tell you that you are low on fluids – besides thirst. Here are some of the signs:
Our brains are approximately 70 percent water. As such, a lack of water quickly affects the brain, specifically by causing it to shrink in size, which leads to headaches.
As such, the first thing to do when you have a headache is not always to reach for an aspirin, but simply to drink a glass or two of water. If you want to cover your bases, then take the recommended dose of aspirin and drink two glasses of water at the same time.
Lack of water leads to two critical medical conditions that have far-ranging implications. These are a decrease in blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure. Both of these contribute to dizziness, which, as you may already know, is a common occurrence when you are sick with the flu. People with the flu lie down and sleep a lot. When they get up quickly, they become dizzy because they have not been drinking water while they are asleep.
- Less Elasticity of the Skin
The way a veterinarian diagnosis dehydration in an animal is by pinching and pulling its skin. The skin forms a pinched shape and, when the doctor lets to, the skin does not spring back to its normal position, the pinched bump remains upright. This occurs in humans as well. Skin, when dehydrated, does not retreat to a normal position when it is dried out.
- Dark Urine
When you are dehydrated, the kidneys react. They react by holding onto liquids, storing it up; this turns your urine dark yellow and even brown in some cases.
- Muscle Cramps
Muscles need water, the same as all body tissues. When dry, they get tighter, leading to cramps.
- Bad Breath
Your saliva is critical for keeping your breath smell clean. It does this through its antibiotic properties, which are very handy in the mouth, where people are likely to introduce bacteria to your system. When there is a lack of saliva, the bacteria of your mouth thrive, creating bad breath.
Rashes Your skin reacts to heat in various ways. One symptom is prickly feelings on your skin. Another way is heat rash. A red, bumpy rash, often called hives, appears when you are overheated, which is a symptom of dehydration.