In today’s fast paced world, many of us can struggle to remember to drink. Busy schedules can mean that we do not have time to stop and drink enough water throughout the day. This is something we all need to be mindful of, as dehydration is harmful to our bodies and minds.
Signs, Symptoms and Risks of Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including not drinking enough fluids, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea, or certain medical conditions.
When the normal water content of your body reduces, the balance of salts and sugars are unsettled, affecting the way your body functions.
Look out for the 7 early warning signs of dehydration:
- Thirst: Thirst is often the first sign of dehydration. When the body loses water, it triggers a thirst response to encourage us to drink more fluids.
- Dry mouth and throat: A dry mouth and throat are common signs of dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, it produces less saliva, which can lead to a dry feeling in the mouth.
- Dark yellow urine: Dehydration can cause urine to become dark yellow or amber in colour. This is because the body is conserving water by producing less urine.
- Headache: Dehydration can cause headaches and migraines, especially in people who are prone to these conditions.
- Fatigue and dizziness: Dehydration can cause fatigue and dizziness due to a lack of water in the body, which can lead to reduced blood volume and blood pressure.
- Dry skin and lips: Dehydration can cause dry skin and chapped lips, as the body’s natural moisturising mechanisms are impaired.
- Muscle cramps: Dehydration can cause muscle cramps and spasms, especially in the legs, due to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate the body, as dehydration can have several adverse health effects.
Dehydration Induced Adverse Health Effects
- Reduced cognitive function: Dehydration can impair your cognitive function, including your ability to concentrate, focus, and make decisions.
- Increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: When you’re dehydrated, your body has a harder time regulating its temperature, which can increase your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Kidney damage: When you’re severely dehydrated, your kidneys have to work harder to filter out waste and toxins from your blood, which can lead to kidney damage and other complications.
- Constipation: WebMD explains dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation, as your body tries to retain as much water as possible, which can make your stool harder and more difficult to pass.
- Low blood pressure: Mayo Clinic explain, when you’re dehydrated, the amount of blood in the body (blood volume) decreases, which can cause your blood pressure to drop. This can lead to dizziness, light headedness, and even fainting.
- Increased risk of urinary tract infections: Dehydration can lead to the buildup of bacteria in your urinary tract, which can increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
It’s important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, especially in hot weather or during physical activity.
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