Yup, we know, new year’s resolutions apply to about the first week of January! So, for the second week of January and beyond, here is some advice about staying hydrated today, next week, next month, next year, heck, the rest of your life!
The good news is that there is only one very easy rule. Whether you are going to work or a run or to the local mall, just take along your water bottle because dehydration comes with a set of really unpleasant symptoms that can be easily avoided.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your water intake is less than your water loss. It is caused by not drinking enough water, losing a lot of water or (most often) both. The summer heat and increased levels of activity both contribute to water loss, which means we need to be extra careful about taking in enough water.
Symptoms of dehydration
You probably know that symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst (thirst acting as an indicator that you are already dehydrated), a dry, sticky mouth and decreased urine output / low volume urine that is a dark yellow in colour.
There are, however, a few less obvious symptoms of dehydration. These symptoms are shared by other causes, such as allergies, medication and illness, which means that dehydration isn’t always the obvious conclusion.
Fatigue and food cravings
Your body needs water to function optimally. Without water, all bodily functions are compromised and your body in unable to process glycogen and other compounds. Energy levels flag and we tend to reach for sugary foods or caffeinated drinks as a pick-me-up, which obviously don’t solve the real problem at hand and usually just serve to exa
We all have bacteria in our mouths. Saliva has anti-bacterial properties, but dehydration can reduce the production of saliva, causing an overgrowth of bacteria, which in turn causes bad breath.
Loss of water from its tissues causes your brain to shrink and pull away from your skull. This triggers the pain receptors around the brain. Too little water in blood also causes low blood pressure, which makes it difficult for your brain to receive sufficient blood and oxygen.
Unlike dry skin, which is a skin type, dehydrated skin is a temporary condition, caused by loss of water in the skin cells and giving a dry, inelastic feel and appearance.
This is a symptom of low blood-pressure, which is caused by too little water in your blood. Essentially, your heart is trying to pump less of a blood volume than you actually need, resulting in a decrease of blood flow to the brain – and that lightheaded feeling.
Absence of tears
When you’re dehydrated, your body conserves as much water as possible, using it only for absolutely essential processes. Tears are not considered essential to your survival, which is why you may experience dry, irritated eyes as a result.
Some of the more severe symptoms are:
Rapid heart rate
Your heart is trying to compensate for your low blood pressure and beats faster in order to pump more blood.
This happens because your body is trying to maintain adequate oxygen levels, as your blood is not able to carry sufficient oxygen to your vital organs.
The body usually controls over-heating (from internal and external sources) through evaporation, which is part of sweating. When dehydrated, the body is unable to sweat, which causes body temperature to rise. Fever also causes dehydration, which has a compound effect.
Delirium or unconsciousness
Brain function (sending and receiving of signals) is impaired as a result of lack of blood, water and oxygen.
It’s best to ensure that you enjoy enough healthy, refreshing water on a daily basis. At least, by keeping your hydration levels up, you can remove dehydration as a possible cause when experiencing any of the above symptoms.
Remember, caffeine is a diuretic, which increases water loss. Drinking lot of tea and coffee really isn’t the best way of getting your daily quota.
Plain, filtered water is best. To get the best quality and taste out of your water, check out
H2O International SA’s superior range of filtration systems and portable personal water bottles designed and priced to fit any lifestyle and pocket.