Water, agua, H2O – it surrounds us every day, and even makes up roughly 60% of our bodies, so it’s no wonder things go wrong when there isn’t enough of it around. Dehydration occurs when our body is releasing more fluids (either through urine, vomit, or sweat) than it is taking in. As the weather gets warmer and we do more activities outside, it’s important to make sure you give your body all the water it needs to stay healthy. Dehydration doesn’t seem like something you need to worry about unless you’re wandering through the desert or stranded at sea, but you’d be surprised by just how quickly it can sneak up on you.
If left untreated, dehydration begins to disrupt the body’s metabolic processes and can lead to conditions like hypernatremia, or an excess of sodium in the blood. Luckily, dehydration is easy to spot thanks to these 10 warning signs that our bodies give off. Whether you’re working outside on a hot day or just recently experienced an illness that caused a lot of fluids to evacuate your body (to put it politely), dehydration is something you should be on the lookout for.
If you spot one or more of the following warning signs, be sure to contact your physician and reach for a tall glass of water. Remember, the best way to treat dehydration is by preventing it, so we’ve included some helpful tips for staying hydrated at the end of this list.
1. Increased Heart Rate
Your heart is in charge of keeping blood flowing to every other part of your body, and water has a big impact on how well it can do this. If your body isn’t getting enough water, your blood becomes thicker, requiring your heart to work harder to pump it. This leads to increased heart rate and a higher level of stress on your body.
2. Bad Breath And Dry Mouth
Next time your breath is a little smelly, you might want to drink a glass of water instead of reaching for a mint. Water stimulates your body’s production of saliva, which is a natural antibacterial. Saliva also helps keep your mouth from becoming too dry.
3. Sudden Food Cravings
Craving peanut butter and anchovies in the middle of the afternoon? Chances are, you’re either pregnant or dehydrated, and, depending on your current situation, it’s hard to tell which one is scarier. Our bodies often think we’re hungry when what we’re actually experiencing is thirst. It’s usually a good idea to drink a glass of water before consuming any meal.
4. Joint And Muscle Pain
The cartilage and joints in your body are comprised of 80% water, so you’ve got to stay hydrated to keep everything running smoothly. Water lessens the friction between bones and also helps reduce muscle cramps.
5. Intense Headaches
Perhaps the most tell-tale sign of dehydration is a headache. When your body is short on water, there is a decrease in the fluid that surrounds your brain, making it more susceptible to aches and pains. Additionally, dehydration makes it harder for oxygen and blood to flow to the brain.
6. Upset Stomach
Water helps keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy, which reduces the likelihood of constipation and makes bowel movements easier. When your body is low on fluids, your body will have a harder time digesting food and your stool will become hard.
Some people think a cup of coffee is the best way to wake up in the morning, but water might actually be more effective (and way cheaper). Low water levels mean low blood pressure and less oxygen reaching the brain. Basically, when you are dehydrated, your body has to spend extra energy to keep everything running – energy that you could be using to get things done!
8. Infrequent Urination
The less water you take in, the less water your body puts out. A healthy rate of urination is four to seven times each day. Urine allows your body to get rid of harmful toxins, so, when you aren’t urinating frequently enough, they stick around in your body far longer than they should. Another easy way to tell if you are dehydrated is looking at the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine indicates that your body needs more water.
9. Dry Skin
Moisturizer doesn’t just come in a bottle. Drinking plenty of water is an effective way to ensure that your skin stays soft and smooth instead of cracked and dry.
While sweat stains can be embarrassing, they’re actually a sign that you are properly hydrated. You’ll sweat much less if your body is low on water, not to mention, sweat is good at cleaning oil and dirt off your skin.
10. Trouble Focusing
Have you ever felt foggy and had trouble focusing? Just as dehydration can lead to headaches and migraines, it can also impede your ability to think clearly.
Here are a couple of ways that you can make sure you stay properly hydrated all year long:
Drink Plenty Of Water
The Mayo Clinic recommends at least nine cups of water a day for adult women and 13 cups for adult men.
Eat Fruits And Veggies
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