We all know that we should be drinking more water but so many of us are guilty of depriving our bodies of delicious H2O. In fact, most of the country is dehydrated! It’s really a common problem so don’t feel like you’re alone in your struggles to drink up!
Let’s get scientific for a minute. Water makes up 50-70% of our body weight and it is responsible for sustaining nearly all bodily functions. We get our hydration mostly from drinks but also from food.
We are constantly losing water. Going to the bathroom, sweating, and even breathing all contribute to fluid loss. Dehydration is so common that1.35 millionpeople die from it every year. Before you become a statistic, check out these ways to recognize dehydration.
Mild dehydration is incredibly common and can quickly happen to most people on any given day. Sweating on hot days and doing physical exercise contribute to faster dehydration than normal, though we can become dehydrated simply by sitting on the couch. Here are some signs that dehydration is setting in:● Less frequent urination
● Cracked lips
In addition to just feeling awful, dehydration also decreases your plasma levels in the blood. The loss of plasma means your blood becomes thicker and then makes your heart work overtime.
The lack of plasma also means it’s harder for your blood to transport minerals, nutrients, and oxygen throughout your body.
When you become severely dehydrated, many of your bodily functions start to falter. Your brain is nearly 70% water and when it isn’t staying adequately hydrated, you can lose your level of alertness, your concentration becomes impaired, and your memory decreases.
It also affects your mood and gives you a heightened sense of pain. Eyes may become sunken in appearance and your skin may start to crack.
Ongoing dehydration can lead to organ damage. It’s much like running a car out of oil. The lack of fluid means the parts lose their ability to function adequately, eventually causing things to stop working all together.
Your body also loses the ability to regulate its temperature. Sweating is your body’s way of staying cool but a lack of water means that your body can’t produce the sweat it needs to cool down. This renders it impossible for your body to regulate temperature and can eventually lead to heat stroke.
If you’re curious about your dehydration throughout the day, there are a couple quick tests you can use to check whether or not you’re staying on track.
One quick and simple way to check your hydration is by doing a quick pinch of the skin on your arm, stomach, or back of the hand. Pinch the skin together and gently pull it, then let it go.
If your skin snaps right back to normal, then you’re fully hydrated. If the skin is slow to go back into place, that is a good indicator that you may need to up your fluid intake.
When your fingernail bed is pinched, it sends the blood out of your nail bed and turns white. When you do this in a person that is adequately hydrated, the nail bed regains its normal color in two seconds or less.
This shows that there is good perfusion which means that oxygen is being transported to the extremities as it should be. Capillary refill is slow in people who are dehydrated because the blood is thicker and therefore not transporting oxygen optimally.
If you think you might be a chronic dehydrator, the solution is simple: Drink Up!
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