In Dehydration Part I, I explained what dehydration is and some of its surprising and unexpected signs and symptoms. We now know how important water is to the healthy function of our bodies. Yet some still find it difficult to get enough water in each day. There’s coffee, tea, juice, soda…all of these beverages often take the place of water in our diets. Let’s recap and take a look at how small percentages of dehydration can affect us.
5% Fluid Loss:
- increased heart rate
- increased respiration
- decreased sweating
- decreased urination
- increased body temperature
- extreme fatigue
- muscle cramps
- tingling in the limbs
10% Fluid Loss (requires medical attention and could be fatal):
- muscle spasms
- racing pulse
- shriveled skin
- dim vision
- painful urination
- difficulty breathing
- chest and abdominal pain
Wow, how many of you just went to grab a bottle of water?
The good news is, treating and preventing dehydration is simple!
The most simple way to treat mild dehydration is to drink water. Also, drinks with carbohydrates and electrolytes (ex. sports drinks, Pedialyte) help to replenish the fluids your body needs. If being overheated contributed to your dehydration, frozen juice and ice chips will help cool you down.
To avoid dehydration and keep yourself well hydrated, try the following:
- start each day with a glass of water
- drink water before each meal
- drink water slowly throughout the day
- avoid salty foods
- reduce alcohol and caffeine intake (diuretics)
So how much water do you need daily anyway? Basically, you need to drink enough to replace the amount you lose each day through excretion, perspiration and other bodily functions. Factors such as age, physical condition, activity level and climate (shout out to my fellow Texans) also determine how much water you should consume. The truth is, everyone is different. Pay attention to your body, keep yourself hydrated and avoid dehydration and its awful hidden signs and symptoms.
“Dehydration “. Mayo Clinic. 8/29/2010 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561>.
“Dehydration’s Hidden Symptoms”. World Chiropractic Alliance. 8/29/2010 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561>.
“Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration”. 8/29/2010 <www.symptomsofdehydration.com>.
“Learn About Dehydration”. 8/29/2010 <deydrationsymptoms.org>.
Batmanghelidj, F.. Water: For Health For Healing For Life: You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 2003.