The human body is about two-thirds water, so you need to stay hydrated to keep your body functioning properly and feel your best. You need water for normal bodily functions such as lubricating your joints and eyes, keeping your skin healthy by eliminating toxins, and allowing for proper digestion. When the water in your body is reduced, it needs to be replaced because an imbalance between the salts and sugar in your body can have a negative effect on your body. When the human body has lost one to two percent of its entire water content, you will feel thirsty, a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids.The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get about 12 cups of water per day and that me get about 15 cups of water per day.
Risk factors that increase your chance of becoming dehydrated include exercising or working outdoors when it’s hot and humid, and living at a high-altitude. Infants and children, people with chronic illnesses, and older adults are also at a greater risk of dehydration. Other causes of dehydration include diarrhea and vomiting. So, if you’re sick, sucking on ice chips is recommended to keep you hydrated. Diabetics also are more prone to dehydration because some medications may cause them to frequently urinate.
Signs and Symptoms
- Dizziness or confusion
- Rapid heartbeat
- Heavy breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Very dry mouth and bad breath
- Sunken eyes
- Cramps and joint pain
- Dry skin
- Not sweating after an intense workout
- Dark yellow urine
Serious complications can include heat stroke, seizures, or swelling of the brain.
Prevention is the best medicine for dehydration. Drink enough fluids throughout the day so you urinate every 2-4 hours. However, drinks like coffee, soda, and alcohol have a diuretic effect, so drink plenty of water to replace what you lose. Make a habit of keeping a bottle of spring or filtered water with you all the time. You’re more likely to sip on it throughout the day and less likely to feel thirsty.
If you’re looking for an alternative to sports drinks which contain high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, coconut water is a great option. Not only does it hydrate you, coconut water has other health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, amino acids, and antioxidants. Drink it in moderation since it does contain sugar, but it’s great for after a cardio workout when you need to replace minerals as well as fluids.
Eating the right foods like fruits and vegetables help your body stay hydrated. Skip snacks like chips, pretzels and crackers and replace them with yogurt, smoothies, and celery with peanut butter.
No one knows your body better than you. If you are already feeling thirsty or sweating profusely, take action and drink water immediately. Don’t want for severe symptoms to show, or you could be in danger of a more severe health hazard.