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Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

Is Your Body Telling You It Needs More Water?

The human body possesses an amazing skill; the ability to self regulate. When we are hungry, chemicals are released from our brain to tell us it is time to eat; the same goes for thirst, fatigue, when we fall ill and a whole slate of primary biological functions. And just as importantly, when we are dehydrated our body will quickly step in to tell us that this is the case.

And the truth is, approximately 75% of all Americans suffer from dehydration, as the average person only consumes approximately 2.5 cups of water per day. Dehydration can negatively affect our moods, our ability to process information, our decision-making skills and prolonged dehydration can lead to even more increasingly severe symptoms. With such staggering statistics, it’s clear that many Americans are not properly listening to their bodies. If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, then it may be your body telling you that you are experiencing dehydration.

But before we dive too deep into the signs and symptoms of dehydration, it is important to understand what causes dehydration so that you can avoid it in the future.

The Causes of Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. When the level of water loss reaches a point where the body can no longer function regularly, dehydration will occur. This can result due to heat exposure, prolonged work in extreme climates, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, increased alcohol consumption or a variety of additional factors that can lead to low levels of water intake or a lack of water retention.

Signs and Symptoms That Your Body May Be Dehydrated

1. Low Volume of Urine and Change in Tint

The color of our urine is the first and most transparent sign of our bodies’ hydration level. In a healthy adult, we should experience the urge to urinate approximately 6 to 7 times per 24 hour period. This range can change depending on a variety of factors; age, bladder size, hydration level, and medical conditions. If your urge to urinate is occurring at a lower frequency, this may well be a clear sign of dehydration.

As well, the color and tint of our urine tells a great deal about our level of hydration. A well-hydrated adult’s urine should possess a pale yellow tint, similar to the color of lemonade. A darker yellow tint is usually a sign of dehydration. On the other side of the equation, urine that is completely white may be a sign of overhydration which can lead to electrolyte imbalance and a host of other health defects.

2. Dry Skin

The level of hydration in our bodies directly affects the condition of our skin. If you are experiencing flaky, dry skin then this may be a sign that you are severely dehydrated. A quick test to see if your skin is dry is to test the elasticity of the skin. Gently pinch your skin and then release it. If it falls back into place slowly then this is a sign that you may be experiencing mild to moderate dehydration. If it sticks together than this may be a sign that you are more severely dehydrated.

3. The Sensation of Dizziness or Light-Headedness

Your brain is primarily composed of water. Therefore, when the body and brain do not receive enough hydration, the effect is a depreciation of mental function. This is why drinking water and eating hydrating foods has been linked with increased cognitive ability. If you are experiencing confusion, dizziness or light-headedness, this may be a sign that your brain has not received enough water to function properly.

4. Rapid Heart Rate

Our heart’s regulating processes tell us so much about our health and especially our levels of hydration. Depleted electrolytes can affect the ability to regulate the cardiovascular system and can, therefore, lead to an increase in heart rate. While this is normal to experience during exercise, if these symptoms persist well after completing your workout routine, then it may be due to dehydration.

5. Fever and Chills

When your body does not have the amount of water required to regulate body temperature, the result can be a hypothermic state which results in high fever or chills. While these side effects are most commonly associated with flu or other illness, it is important to understand that this condition may, in fact, be a result of severe dehydration. When experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to consider all the possible root causes.

The Truth About Dehydration

Dehydration is a very serious condition and should be taken seriously. Chronic dehydration can lead to an immense amount of concerning health issues as it has been linked to decreased kidney function, kidney stones, hypertension, urinary tract infections, intestinal failures, and even dementia. If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is crucial that you make an appointment with your doctor and takes steps to remain properly hydrated. There are so many small life changes that can be made to ensure that hydration serves as a cornerstone for your health routine. Do what you can to learn the facts about dehydration so that you can live a healthier, happier and more hydrated life.

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