During hot weather, it’s easy to become dehydrated and not notice it. So it’s important to stay on the lookout for signs of dehydration.
Water is essential to our health and there are so many benefits of drinking water. This is something we’ve all heard all our lives and common sense dictates us to accept it as fact. Since we’re 60% made up of it, water is important for most of the physiological processes our body goes throughout the day. It helps with brain functions, food digestion, removing waste from your body, as well as with regulating body temperature.
Our body loses water every day through bodily processes like urination, sweating and even breathing so, of course, that means we have to keep replenishing our supplies. The amount of water we lose is greater when we are engaging in hard physical work, but even everyday activities can lead to a notable loss of water in a short period of time.
In addition, even though we can become dehydrated any time of the year, our body loses water more during hot weather, and if we are losing more water than we are taking it will lead to dehydration – meaning our body won’t have the required water to function properly.
With summer upon us, it’s important to be able to spot some of the most common (and sometimes unknown) signs of dehydration. So scroll down to see some of the signs your body is sending you to let you know you need to hydrate – and soon – as well as some possible complications arising from dehydration.
1. You are more thirsty
Thirst is our body’s way of telling us we need to drink water, so technically if you’re thirsty you’re already a little dehydrated. If you’ve just exercised, if it’s hot outside, or if you’re sick with diarrhea and vomiting it’s important to frequently drink water in order to prevent dehydration.
But don’t panic. Being thirsty doesn’t mean you’re severely dehydrated. So just drink a glass or two of water and you should be fine.
2. You are peeing less frequently
Logically, if your body doesn’t have enough water you’re going to pee less. While there’s no exact amount of water a person ‘is supposed’ to drink in one day, it is generally known that the average adult should consume somewhere around 8 cups of water daily. However, a recent report from the Institute of Medicine recommends women should actually get 2.2 liters of fluid intake per day and men should get 3 liters.
But that water intake can come from beverages other than water, as well as from the water which is present in the food we consume – like fruits and vegetables. So if you’re drinking the recommended amount of water your urine output should be somewhere around 800 to 2,000 milliliters per day.
3. Your pee is darker in color
Even though people tend to believe clear urine is a sign of good hydration, urine is actually supposed to be of a pale straw or transparent yellow color. (If your pee is completely clear it’s an indication you are drinking too much water.) If your pee is a darker shade of yellow it means you’re on your way to becoming dehydrated, and if your urine is very dark yellow or orange it’s a sign of severe dehydration and you should take in water as soon as possible.
4. You feel tired and dizzy
If you’re not getting enough fluids it can lead to a drop in your blood pressure, which can, in turn, decrease the amount of oxygen in your brain and you will feel dizzy. Even mild dehydration can lead to dizziness. Other than that, research has shown that dehydration can result in mood changes such as an increase in fatigue, confusion, violence, and anger.
5. You are getting headaches
Dehydration, in addition to dizziness and fatigue, has also been shown to lead to the development of a headache. It can, in fact, even trigger a migraine. While a headache can come as a result of a number of other cases, if it is caused by water deprivation then continuously drinking smaller amounts of water through the day can help relieve it.
6. Your skin becomes dry and loses elasticity
Our skin is also an organ (it is actually our largest organ) so a lack of proper hydration affects it too. If we’re not giving our skin the appropriate amount of water it needs it will cause it to become dry, tight and flaky. That’s because when our body doesn’t have enough water it gives priority to other, more vital organs such as the liver, lungs, and brain. So collagen (the primary connective tissue of the skin) stops getting it.
Our skin may also lose its elasticity due to dehydration so when you pinch it, it won’t immediately resume its shape but remain “tented”.
7. You’re craving something sweet
One of the less known signs of dehydration is cravings. If you are dehydrated then your liver will find it harder to break down glycogen and other elements which our body uses as fuel. As a result, you will become hungry, especially for something sweet. That’s because the process of producing glycogen requires water and glucose which is the body’s circulating sugar.
So if you’re suddenly craving something sweet try drinking some water first to see if it goes away.
8. Your mouth and eyes get dry
Since our body needs water to create saliva a lack of it will cause your mouth to get dry, your lips chapped as well as causes bacteria to grow in the mouth which leads to bad breath. Dehydration also limits tear production, which helps lubricate your eyes. This can cause dry and irritated eyes and even vision impairment.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article: text, graphics, images, and other materials contained are strictly for informational purposes only. The Content is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Please ALWAYS seek the advice of a qualified health provider with all questions that you have related to, or about, a medical condition.