Dehydration

Monday April 29, 2013

The effects of dehydration are numerous, and dehydration is more common than you might think. The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on age, gender and amount of body fat, and water is essential to human life. Water forms the basis for all fluids in the body, such as blood and digestive juices, and it’s the catalyst in all metabolic functions throughout the body. Water removes toxins and waste products from the body, and it carries nutrients to the cells of the body.

Your body is dynamic and always changing, and this is especially true with regard to water in your body. You lose water routinely when your body performs normal functions such as breathing, sweating and eliminating waste. In a typical day, you need to consume a substantial amount of water to replace this routine loss. Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving your body is greater than the amount being taken in. Severe dehydration can cause symptoms such as extreme thirst, lack of sweating, rapid heartbeat and delirium, and it can be life threatening. But most people who experience dehydration experience mild to moderate dehydration.

Here are the effects of dehydration at a mild to moderate level:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Decreased metabolism

Many people who suffer from one or more of these ailments have no idea that dehydration is the cause, and that getting relief is as simple as consuming more water. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay hydrated because water is processed by the body differently than other types of fluids.

So how much water should you drink to avoid dehydration and stay healthy? Eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is a commonly quoted amount, but this is just a general rule. The amount can vary widely from person to person depending on factors such as age, physical condition, activity level and climate. If you drink enough water so you rarely feel thirsty and you produce urine that’s clear or light yellow, your water intake is most likely adequate. You also need to make sure that the water you drink is as clean and healthy as possible.

In conclusion, mild to moderate dehydration affects many people and causes several common ailments. But dehydration is easily preventable by consuming an adequate amount of water.