What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is a condition in which you lose more fluids than you intake. Thus, insufficient water or fluids remain in the body to carry out normal body functions. We often think that dehydration is associated with the hot weather. It is a wrong perception. Instead, you can become dehydrated at any time of year, even in the cold weather. According to the lay press, approximately 75% of Americans are dry.
People of any age can become dehydrated. However, it is more common and severe in young children who don’t take the feeling of thirst seriously. They don’t even drink water while having their meals most of the time. In addition, severe vomiting or diarrhea is also one of the most common dehydration causes in children.
Besides children, elderly patients are also at higher risk of dehydration. It has been reported to diagnose dehydration in 17% to 28% of adult patients in the USA. In older adults, the use of medicines such as diuretics may elevate the risk of dehydration. Furthermore, dehydration is the most common reason for hospital admissions.
Below we will discuss the most significant signs of dehydration that make it easy for you to identify whether you are dehydrated or not.
Six Significant Signs of Dehydration:
1. Elevated thirst:
An increase in thirst is one of the primary signs of dehydration. However, it is not common in young children and older adults. They often don’t feel thirsty or can’t recognize the feeling of being dehydrated.
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated that a man should drink 101 oz of water (approximately 13 cups of water), and a woman should drink 90 oz of water (9 cups of water) per day.
However, according to their health, workload, and area (climate), everyone has different water requirements. Therefore, you should consult a healthcare professional who can give you a better diet chart according to your needs. Besides water, various vegetables and fruits can fulfill the requirement of body fluid.
Water plays an essential role in many body functions, such as,
- It sends nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body.
- Water maintains the balance of electrolytes in our bodies.
- It lubricates the joints.
- Reduce the burden on the kidney and liver by flushing out waste products.
- Dissolves the minerals and nutrients to make them available to your body.
Thus, when you become dehydrated, all of these functions can’t run smoothly, which causes fatigue. According to research, people who lose 2% to 3% of their body fluids feel double fatigue compared to a hydrated person. Therefore, if you often feel sluggish or tired, you may be dehydrated.
3. Xerostomia (Dry Mouth):
It occurs most of the time that even after you drink water, it still feels dry in the mouth. A dry mouth is another vital sign that you are suffering from dehydration. In such conditions, your mouth always remains dry because there is not enough fluid in your body to produce the saliva you need.
Due to Dry mouth, there can be many other dental problems such as gingivitis (gums disease), tooth decay, and infections in the mouth. Besides all, dry mouth is itself a very uncomfortable situation. Thus, to keep your mouth wet, always have a water bottle with you. Furthermore, consult with a healthcare provider to cope with dehydration.
4. Bad or Foul Breath:
If you are experiencing a bad breath, you may have become dehydrated. Water plays an essential role in the production of saliva. However, when your body experiences a shortage of water, it can’t be able to produce enough saliva.
Reduced saliva production has a direct relation with the occurrence of foul breath. Saliva helps break down food particles, especially carbohydrates, in the mouth for further processing. It also removes the bacteria and other unwanted substances from the mouth.
However, the absence of enough saliva allows bacteria to grow more quickly in the mouth cavity, which causes an unpleasant smell while breathing. Therefore, instead of using mouthwashes, increase your water consumption and see the results.
5. Abnormal Urinating:
People often use the washroom several times a day, which is normal. However, if you don’t frequently urinate per day, you are dehydrated. In reality, water plays a vital role in removing waste materials from the body in the form of urine. Consequently, less urine will be produced when there is not enough water present in your body.
Furthermore, observe the color of urine while you pee. If the color of urine is white or slightly yellow, you are properly hydrated. However, bright yellow or darker urine indicates severe dehydration. In such a situation, you must increase your water intake and eat vegetables and fruits to fulfill your fluid requirement.
6. Often Feel Hungry:
Do you still feel hungry even when you have your lunch just an hour before? It may be a sign that you are experiencing dehydration. It happens because the same part of the brain sends signals for hunger and thirst that sometimes overlap or mix up and confuse you.
Thus, if you have had your lunch just one or two hours before and your tummy starts rumbling, drink a glass of water instead of eating snacks and observe whether it works.
Symptoms of Severe Dehydration:
It is okay to drink sufficient water to recover from dehydration for some people. However, it can be severe in some cases and need immediate medical treatment. Thus, if you feel any of the following symptoms, you must go to the hospital for a proper checkup and treatment. includes,
- Extreme fatigue
- Faintness or dizziness
- No urination during 24 hours
- A weak or fast pulse
However, possibilities are there that these signs and symptoms may be because of any other disease or problem. Thus, it is better to visit a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Accordingly, start treatment if necessary; however, dehydration can often be covered by changing lifestyle habits.
Water is essential for us as our body comprises about 55% to 75% of water. Therefore, it is necessary to recognize whether you are dehydrated to cover it properly and thoroughly.