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Dehydration occurs when your body does not obtain as much water as it needs. The body is always changing, and you are constantly losing water routinely through things such as sweating to cool your body or urinating to eliminate waste.
Anyone can get dehydrated if they are not replacing lost fluids. Many people are lacking the water they need to function and don’t know it.
How do you tell if you are dehydrated?
You may think that you have become dehydrated when your mouth becomes dry and quenched, but that is often not the case. Thirst isn't always the most reliable indicator of dehydration. Many people, particularly older adults, do not feel thirsty until they are already dehydrated. This dangerous, moderate dehydration worsens to more mild or severe dehydration and leads to a physical and mental decline that calls for prompt actions for reversal.
Here are some signs you might be dehydrated:
● Signs of fatigue, anger, or confusion
There have been some studies that have found that mild levels of dehydration has been linked to cognitive functions and affecting your moods. This is specifically common among the young or elderly, who may experience forgetfulness or have challenges staying alert.
According to a study from the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory, mild dehydration can modify a person's energy, mood, and ability to think clearly. The researcher interpreted mild dehydration as a roughly 1.5% loss in the average volume of water in the body.
● Blurred vision or dry eyes
When you are dehydrated, it may cause you to overly strain your eyes. You may notice that it causes discomfort to move your eyes around. Although this optical pain may be the cause of other factors, not drinking enough water is a cause for eye pain.
When your body is exerting more water than it is provided with, your body will try to regulate the remaining amounts of water in your body and transfer it to the most important organs. This may cause your natural tear production to reduce, resulting in dry and uncomfortable eyes.
● Lack of sweat
We are constantly losing fluids through sweat by the temperature outside without even noticing it, especially when it is hot or humid. When your body is not provided with an adequate amount of water, you may notice that you aren't sweating like you normally would, or you have stopped producing sweat at all.
Most of your sweat glands are situated under your arm, in the soles of your feet, and your palms. The reason you sweat, to begin with, is to decrease your internal body temperature to avoid overheating, according to Healthy Living. This is dangerous if you are overheated and you are dehydrated because this means that your body does not have the means to cool down, which can induce a heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
● Muscle cramps
One of the most common causes of muscle cramps is due to your body’s need for water. When you are dehydrated, you may begin to feel cramping in your muscles from electrolyte loss or vitamin B or D deficiency. It is rare that muscle cramps caused by dehydration that are so severe that it will induce a life-threatening situation, yet if left untreated it could be the case. The best thing to do is to drink enough water to prevent any critical situations from arising.
● Dry or sticky mouth
Dry mouth most commonly occurs when the salivary glands in your mouth fail to produce an adequate amount of saliva. Although dry mouths can also be the result of underlying problems or medical conditions, it is often because you are not providing your body with enough water. To reduce the chances of experiencing dry mouth, increase your intake of fluids such as cold water or an unsweetened drink.
What does dehydration feel like?
Dehydration can affect you in many ways. The first sign of dehydration occurs mentally, including a decrease in the ability to concentrate and alertness. Those who suffer from mild dehydration may also experience headaches and exhaustion.
As your body continues to exert more water than it is provided, the blood becomes thicker as blood volume reduces, which leads to an increase in heart rate. This domino effect causes the body to increase its inability to lose heat, which causes symptoms of heatstroke to increase so quickly. When the body is lacking water and overheats, exercise becomes more challenging, thinking becomes a struggle, and you may be more sensitive and emotional.
Is a headache a sign of dehydration?
Although it may seem like you get headaches randomly sometimes, headaches are a sign that you are not drinking enough water. It is a common trigger for migraines as well. Though dehydration often leads to a headache that resembles a tension headache, which is described to feel like a tight band around your head. Drinking enough water throughout your day will help you feel better and prevent head pain as regards to headaches and migraine health.
What happens to your body when you are dehydrated?
Water is possibly one of the most significant things you consume to benefit your body. Particularly considering that water ensures that your organs carry out their essential tasks, it is no surprise that not consuming enough water can lead to fatal outcomes. According to the Rehydration Project, 1.35 million people globally face death due to the effects of dehydration each year.
So what happens to your body when you don’t drink the suggested amount of water each day? Below are some of the things your body go through when you are not getting enough water:
● Plasma levels decreases
Plasma, which is the liquid component of blood, has fewer materials to maintain blood cells to be liquified when there is an insufficient amount of water in your body. In a 2008 study published by the journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine discovered that when healthy men were immobile and dehydrated for only four hours, their volume of plasma decreased by 3.4 percent.
● Your heart works overtime
Due to the reduction in blood volume because of the decrease in plasma leads to the thickening of your blood. This then results in a decline in cardiac output, affecting our heart’s ability to provide fuel for our muscles. Essentially, our heart has to work much harder to pump the same amount of fuel to support the rest of our body.
● Your brain has to reboot
When your brain lacks an adequate amount of water, its tissue fluids reduce. This likely causes the struggles of memory problems and general confusion due to the decrease in tissue fluids. If severe, this may also lead to fainting spells as a way for your body’s system to “reboot,” and protect itself.
● Your skin starts to suffer
Not providing your body with enough water will lead to your body’s lack of sweat production, which can affect your skin. When you are dehydrated, your body will only lend moisture to the parts of your body that are essential such as your vital organs and disregards the areas of your body it considers to be less vital such as your skin.
Our skin itself is an organ that is similar to a thin sponge. This is why consuming more water leads to more moisturized skin.
● Your kidneys increase its hold on water
Dehydration prompts your kidneys to retain more water in the case of an emergency. Urinary output decreases along with dehydration. The kidneys are your body’s way of honing our hydration state, but if your kidney has been working overtime for too long this could cause a lot of trouble.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the lack of water can lead to waste clogging your kidneys. This results in problems from urinary tract infections to more serious concerns. If you are dehydrated regularly, this could mean a heightened risk of developing kidney failure, low kidney function, or kidney disease.
Not supplying your body with enough water certainly leads to some serious potential issues for your body. With so many effects of dehydration, it is good to detect the signs before it causes a more fatal situation. Yet the symptoms of dehydration differ depending on whether the case is mild or severe. The symptoms of dehydration may start to appear before when total hydration occurs.
What are the signs of mild to moderate dehydration?
According to Medical News Today, symptoms for mild to moderate dehydration includes:
- dry mouth
- increased thirst
- fatigue or tiredness
- decreased urination
- less tear production
- dry skin
- headaches or migraines
What are the signs of severe dehydration?
When mild to moderate dehydration is not reacted upon in time, this could lead to severe dehydration. Along with the symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration, the symptoms of severe dehydration is likely to include:
- excessive thirst
- rapid heart rate
- lack of sweat production
- shriveled skin
- low blood pressure
- rapid breathing
- sunken eyes
- dark urine
How much water does it take to rehydrate?
If dehydration is not treated quickly enough by consuming water in the necessary amount, your dehydration could last indefinitely.
If your dehydration progresses from too long, you can die from not providing your body with an adequate amount of water. Most of us know that it is possible to go weeks without consuming food, yet only about three to four days without water. According to the New York Times, a study conducted reported that 75% of Americans were chronically dehydrated.
This means that most Americans are not drinking the necessary amount of water as they should, which can lead to many health difficulties. So, how much water do we need to help our bodies function nicely and prevent serious health effects?
According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, it is determined that the adequate daily consumption of fluid for a healthy adult living in a temperate climate is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These suggestions include fluids from water, other drinks, and food. Approximately 20 percent of the daily fluid intake is usually from food and the rest is from beverages.
Sometimes the idea of consuming fluids by just drinking water might just not be for you or it can seem boring. Rehydrating doesn’t just have to mean drinking cup after cups of water throughout the day, there are other sources of rehydration as well. Some other ways to rehydrate include:
- Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea may not be what you think of when you are quenched, but both—along with other caffeinated beverages—can help us stay well hydrated throughout the day.
According to a 2004 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report called Dietary Reference Intake: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate, “about 80 percent of people’s total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages—including caffeinated beverages—and the other 20 percent is derived from food.”
While plain water can help you rehydrate quickly, it certainly isn't the only drink that can fulfill that role. Milk is found to be even more hydrating than water. One factor is because it is made up of some protein and some fat, the sugar lactose, which all moderate the emptying of liquid from the stomach and keep hydration happening over a longer period, according to a study reported by CNN.
- Fruits and vegetables
Consisting of 70-90 percent water, fruits, and vegetables are a good alternative to staying hydrated throughout the day while also getting your other nutrition intake.
Some of the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest water contents include:
Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated for most people, but there are certainly other options such as coffee, tea, milk, fruits, and vegetables that can also help you rehydrate throughout the day.
Should you chug water when dehydrated?
When your body is in desperate need of water, chugging water seems like a reasonable thing to do, but when you drink too quickly it could lead to more harm than benefit.
For proper rehydration, it is advised that we do the opposite of chugging. According to Summit Medical Group, to correctly rehydrate your body we should sip water moderately, about two to three ounces at a time, throughout the day.
Although chugging water seems like the quickest solution to rehydrate your body, drinking too fast could potentially lead you to risk diluting your blood, which may provoke a quicker excretion of fluids by your kidney. Essentially, if you consume water too fast, it will lead your body to remove most of it as urine, which will cause the effect of delaying the hydration process. Chugging water will cause the opposite of what you want to happen.
Along with the fact that drinking water too quickly will slow down the hydration process, chugging water can also cause water intoxication. Water intoxication is when you have an excess amount of water intake, which is also known as hyponatremia by doctors.
Drinking too much water too fast can cause a decrease in sodium levels in the blood, making it dangerously low. Sodium’s responsibility is to balance the liquid that is in and around the cells. When you drink too much water, this results in an imbalance, and the fluid transfers from your blood and into your cells, which causes it to swell.
Certainly, you would have to consume a significant amount of water for this to happen. According to one study from 2013, it would require at least one gallon of water within a period of a few hours for symptoms of water intoxication to arise. Although far more people are having issues with dehydration than overhydration, give your best effort to hydrate your body with just one sip at a time.
What is the quickest way to rehydrate your body?
When you have not consumed enough water for your body to function properly, you might be wondering what may be the quickest way to not be dehydrated anymore. In a recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers reported that it only requires 45 minutes and 20.3 oz (600ml) of water to alleviate mild dehydration.
Yet according to Drip Hydration, the time it takes to rehydrate fully depends on some factors, which includes:
- What you're drinking (water, beverage, electrolyte-infused sports beverage, etc,.)
- Your level of dehydration (mild, moderate, or severe)
- Your size and weight
- How active you have been (in essence, if you’ve been figuring out at the gym, you’ll be much more dehydrated than someone who has been out for a walk for the identical amount of time)
- If you're sick or fighting off illness (your body needs more fluids than usual when you're ill)
- If you're recovering from surgery
Although this may vary from person to person, when you are experiencing symptoms of mild dehydration, a good place to start would be to drink about one or two glasses of water over 15 minutes. You should start to feel better within a reasonable time frame as your body begins to take in the water.
Yet this would require you to continuously drink water and other beverages approximately every 15 minutes, which is an inept way to attain optimal hydration. A more appealing solution is IV drips (such as these).
What does IV hydration do?
Intravenous rehydration is used to treat moderate to severe cases of dehydration. When prescribed by hospitals, it’s more commonly used to treat children and infants, as they're more likely to become dangerously dehydrated than adults.
This is often accomplished in cases when oral rehydration is insufficient, which may happen if dehydration is advanced or in cases of illness, like diarrhea, vomiting, or high fever. Intravenous rehydration is intended to sidestep the traditional digestive process to induce fluids into your system as quickly as possible.
Fluids delivered through an IV line allow doctors to pump fluid directly into your bloodstream, which suggests that the fluid and electrolytes are available for your body to use straight away. This may help stabilize you within the meantime and, throughout the treatment, restore you to normal hydration.
Nurses will usually search for veins in your arm since these are easy to access and typically wide enough to hit easily, but if you have got narrow veins (often due to genetics) or collapsed veins (usually resulting from chronic use of intravenous injections) they'll have to rummage around for veins in other areas.
Rehydrating with Reset IV
Reset IV drips formulas are administered by a medical professional who has acceptable training and proven experience in IV therapy. All medical personnel are licensed and authorized by a relevant certifying board within the state.
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Conclusion: rehydrate more efficiently with IV therapy
When you have not been providing an adequate amount of fluids for your body, it may take some time before you are fully hydrated again. You may experience common mild to moderate symptoms of dehydration such as headaches or migraines, thirst, and the lack of ability to think clearly. However, IV therapy can aid you in your rehydration process much more efficiently when drinking water and other beverages routinely become a chore, and you want to alleviate the symptoms as soon as possible.