Healthy Living

Are You Dehydrated?

Everyone knows that your body needs water to function properly, yet many of us are dehydrated. What most people don’t realize is how much water they actually need. Being dehydrated is your body’s reaction to not drinking enough water, resulting in a fluid deficiency. Researchers estimate that around 55 to 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration and don’t realize it. According to WebMD, men should be drinking 13 cups of liquid per day and women should be drinking 9 cups of liquid. A pregnant woman needs even more water, so roughly 10-11 cups per day. Water can be derived from the foods you eat and the drinks you sip. Fruits and vegetables including lettuce, celery, and watermelon are almost 90% water.  

Dehydration can be hard to diagnose, as many of its symptoms can be mistaken for an illness. Many of the signs are common and may be experienced by you from time to time making it difficult to associate it with a lack of fluids. If you experience many of these symptoms on a daily or weekly basis, you may be chronically dehydrated. As always, check with a nurse or doctor to confirm any health conditions, the internet is meant for awareness. 

Have a question aboutGeneral Practitioner?Ask a doctor now

How Do Children Present Dehydration

Children can become dehydrated as well, but it is more difficult to diagnose as babies and toddlers can’t say they are thirsty. In rare cases, they can become acutely dehydrated which can be very dangerous. If you are not sure how exactly to keep track of your baby's hydration, then it is best to speak to their pediatrician. However, if a toddler or child has had an illness with symptoms of fever, nausea, diarrhea, then they are probably dehydrated because of that. 

8 Common Signs of Dehydration

The most common signs of chronic dehydration include the following:

  1. Constant fatigue. If someone feels tired all the time, no matter how well they sleep, they are probably dehydrated. This is said to be one of the earliest signs of dehydration since water is an important source of energy in the body. 
  2. High blood pressure. The blood contains a large percentage of water and needs it to flow normally. A dehydrated individual is more likely to have high blood pressure because the blood becomes thicker and more resistant to blood flow when someone is dehydrated.
  3. Digestive issues. A part of the body that needs water to function properly is the colon. Water is used to move waste through the large intestines which leads to a healthy digestive tract. Not drinking enough water slows down the waste and leads to chronic constipation
  4. High cholesterol. High cholesterol can form as a result of water deprivation. More cholesterol is produced in reaction to water loss. If someone is trying to manage their cholesterol levels, instead of taking medicine, drinking more water could possibly help. 
  5. Respiratory issues. When the body is dehydrated and rationing water, it can also restrict a person’s airways. These respiratory issues can form as a result of dehydration, increasing the rate of histamine production in the body. If someone has an allergy or asthma-related issues, it has been proven that being dehydrated can contribute to that. 
  6. Weight gain. Being dehydrated can lead a person to eat more, so they get their fluids in some way. This can happen when the body is actually thirsty and needs water, even from foods. So, if you are eating more it could be from being deprived of water. If you notice, drinking more water throughout the day will make you less hungry. 
  7. Bladder or kidney problems. The bladder and kidneys have the main purpose of eliminating waste from the body, however, adequate water is required to carry out this process. When the body is not hydrated, these toxins in the body are not filtered and eliminated. Not drinking enough water can make the bladder and kidneys more prone to infection and inflammation.
  8. Premature wrinkles. To maintain healthy skin, being properly hydrated is a good way to take care of your physical appearance. Being dehydrated can cause your skin to wrinkle prematurely. By simply drinking water, you can restore a healthy look and feel to your skin.

Chronic dehydration appears differently in everyone depending on their lifestyle and diet. You may experience some of the above symptoms, and finally, realize that you are in fact drinking too little water each day. For some people, they may not notice that they are low on fluids, as their body becomes less sensitive to water intake and gets used to rationing water. Instead of worrying about any of these health issues, simply drink more water to improve your health, it’s that easy!