Our body is made up of about 60% water: no wonder we cannot live without it. Almost all body functions rely on water. Water plays many vital roles to make our body function normally. Water is so essential that a person can die if he hasn’t consumed water in three days. (Although some people have survived 8 to 10 days without it)
However, a lot of people are not aware that their body lacks adequate water. Some people already experience signs of dehydration without them knowing that they only need to increase their water intake.
So how do we know if our body badly needs water? Here are 10 signs:
When our body lacks water, there’s a drop in our body’s hydration level. This might lead to a reduced amount of fluid surrounding our brain. This fluid protects our brain from mild bumps and movement. Moreover, dehydration decreases the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain which also causes headaches and lightheadedness.
So, before you pop an OTC pill for headache, drink a glass of water. If the reason for the headache is dehydration, your headache will soon be relieved.
2. Poor concentration
Our brain is approximately made up of approximately 75% water, so when we get dehydrated, our brain functions are affected influencing our decision-making, memory and even mood.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that mildly dehydrated people performed worse on cognitive tasks. They also reported that they had difficulty in making decisions. Adverse changes in mood states of fatigue and anxiety were also observed.
3. Bad breath
When we get dehydrated, our body produces less saliva. When our mouth becomes dry, there is excessive growth of bacteria in the mouth which causes bad breath. Water keeps the mucus membranes moist in our throat which prevents dry mouth.
When we get dehydrated, our stools can harden because water aids in lubricating our digestive system. Moreover, water is absorbed in the colon, so if there is not enough water, a person can get constipated.
A study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also revealed that fluid loss and fluid retention increases constipation. So, if you want to “go” regularly, drink lots of water.
5. Hunger pangs
When we get dehydrated, our body sends false signals to our brain. Instead of feeling thirsty, we usually have hunger pangs. When there is loss of water, there is also loss of electrolytes in the body which causes us to crave salty foods. So when you feel hunger pangs due to dehydration and crave for something salty, just drink a sports drink or create one by mixing a piece of lemon to a glass of water along with 1 teaspoon of salt.
6. Dark colored urine
When a person is well hydrated, he will be using the restroom every few hours. When our body has a healthy amount of water, we should be urinating about four to seven times a day. When the color of our urine is clear or light-colored, it means we are well-hydrated; if the color of our urine is dark yellow or amber, it means our urine is concentrated and our body lacks water. Make sure you often consume water so your kidneys won’t have a hard time.
Fatigue may be caused by dehydration. Low blood pressure and inadequate oxygen supply throughout the body can be caused by lack of water. When we are dehydrated, our body works too hard to ensure proper blood circulation to transport nutrients and oxygen in the body. This is why we get tired faster than usual. So if you need a boost in energy, always keep a bottle of water handy.
8. Joint and muscle pain
Our joints and cartilage consists of about 80 per cent water. So, when we are dehydrated, our bones start grinding against each other which cause pain in our joints.
Moreover, when there is a depletion of fluid due to perspiration, our muscles would contract which will lead to muscle cramps.
9. Dry, scaly skin and lips
When we lack water, our skin lacks elasticity or our lips would turn dry and chapped. Our skin is the largest organ in our body which also requires a good amount of water. Furthermore, when we get dehydrated, we sweat less which means our body will not be able to wash away excess dirt and oil accumulated on the skin throughout the day, thus increasing the risk of skin problems like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
So instead of just putting on lotion on your skin or Chap stick on your lips, try drinking lots of water too.
10. Faster heartbeat
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, our heart changes in an average three beats per minute for every 1% change of body weight as a result of dehydration. Thus, having a negative impact on performance. Moreover, dehydration causes changes in electrolytes present in the body leading to low blood pressure. This extra stress on the body will result to heart palpitations which can be frightening and cause anxiety and panic. So, when you feel dehydrated and your heart is beating faster, try sipping water slowly.
Anytime you observe any of these signs on your body, try drinking a glass of water first. You might just be dehydrated.