Human body is about 60% water, every tissue, cell and organ contain water, so we need to be properly hydrated for every system on out body to function properly. Water is crucial for:
- Maintaining body temperature
- Balancing body fluids
- Controls intake of calories
- Make the skin healthy and beautiful
- Removes waste and toxins
- Lubricates the eyes and joints
- Protects tissues, joints, and spinal cord.
In order to keep proper water balance, we must drink lots of fluids and food rich in water.
Certain things can cause the body lose more water than usual like diarrhea, excessive sweating, increased physical activity, vomiting or diabetes.
Water deficiency causes an imbalance of electrolytes, which leads to dehydration and causes different conditions and problems.
Most of us are not aware when our body lacks water, so we need to learn to read the signs it gives us. These are the most common 10 signs when our body is warning us it needs water:
Dehydration reduces the amounts of fluids around the brain, which are there to protect the brain from movement or mild bumps. It causes headaches and migraine.
Dehydration will also reduce oxygen and blood flow to the brain, which also triggers headaches.
When you get a headache, don`t reach for a pill, try drinking a glass of water, it may go away if the reason was dehydration.
- Inability to concentrate:
The human brain is 90% water, so it should be the first organ to show symptoms. Some of them are an inability to concentrate or make a decision, poor memory or mood swings.
Brain fog is a typical symptom of water deficiency, along with forgetfulness, problems with communications, thinking and focusing.
According to a study from 2013, published in Clinical Autonomic Research, dehydration is the most frequent cause for brain fog, along with poor sleep, fatigue or long hours of standing.
Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition from 2011, shows that people who were mildly dehydrated had difficulties making a decision and gave worse results in cognitive tasks.
A 2011 study concluded that lower concentration, headaches, and bad mood resulted from 1,36% dehydration in women.
- Constipation and some digestive problems:
Water lubricates the digestive system, keeping the tract clean and flexible, and helping bowel movements.
Loss of fluids caused by diarrhea or vomiting will most likely harden the stool, leading to constipation. Also, water deficiency can cause indigestion and heartburn.
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published a study from 2003 showing that loss and decreased intake of fluids increases constipation.
- Food cravings:
If you feel a food craving, try drinking a glass of water first. Maybe the body is sending false messages to the brain thinking you are hungry when you actually lack water.
If you crave salty food, probably your body has lost electrolytes. Drink some sports drink, they contain sodium. Or make lemonade using lemon juice, a glass of water and a teaspoon of salt.
If you crave sweet food, maybe the body has difficulties producing glycogen. If this is the case, eat some water fruits like watermelon, berries or papaya.
- Reduced urination, with changes color:
If you urinate less than usual, the body is most probably dehydrated. Healthy person urinates 4-7 times a day. This way toxins are flushed out of the body.
Irregular urination means accumulation of toxins, which can cause health problems,
Also, the color of the urine indicated hydration levels, normal urine should be clear of light-colored. If it`s dark yellow or amber-colored, it may be indicated concentrated urine from lack of water.
The feeling of lethargy and fatigue can be caused by dehydration because when the body lacks water, the blood pressure is reduced and there`s insufficient oxygen supply to the brain and the whole body. This leads to fatigue, sleepiness, and lethargy.
A dehydrated body has to work harder to ensure proper circulation, breathing, and transport of nutrients. The extra energy it needs for this makes the body tired.
Drink lots of water during the whole day to stay energized.
- Dry mouth and bad breath:
When the body lacks water, it produces less saliva, which destroys bacteria in the oral cavity. This leads to increase of bacteria, which is causing bad breath.
Also, water is a lubricant, keeping the mucous membranes moist, which prevents the mouth for getting dry.
- Increased heart rate:
Lack of water will decrease the plasma volume, and make the blood more viscous. This has an impact on the blood circulation, increasing the heart rate.
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research has published a study in 2014 proving that dehydration has negative impacts on the heart`s performance.
It discovered that for every 1% change in body weight from dehydration, the heart rate changes an average of 3 heart beats per minute.
Also, dehydration changes the electrolyte balance, which lowers the blood pressure. This extra stress is causing accelerated heart palpitations, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.
In case your heart starts beating faster than usual, slowly drink a glass of water. If the problem does not go, consult your doctor.
- Dry skin and lips:
Dry skin, lacking elasticity can be another sign of water deficiency. As our largest organ, the skin needs a lot of water to keep it healthy and beautiful.
Not enough water is causing less sweating, so the body can`t get rid of the dirt and oil accumulated on the skin. Also, water flushes out toxins, so dehydration can increase the risk of skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema or acne.
Dry and chapped lips are also a sign of dehydration.
High-quality moisturizers can help, but first, we need to hydrate the skin from the inside.
- Pain and cramps in joints and muscles:
Joints and cartilage are 80% water. Lack of water can cause bones to grind from each other, causing pain.
Excess perspiration can cause muscle contractions and cramps. The journal of Applied Physiology has published a study from 2008 stating that the status of water in the human body is important for hormonal and metabolic functions.
How to stay properly hydrated:
- Drink lots of water and fluids during the whole day. The amount depends on many factors, like age, physical activity, climate, and health in general.
- In the morning, drink a glass of room temperature water, and another one before your meals.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks, they cause dehydration.
- Increase the intake of fluids if you have diarrhea, vomiting or fever.
- Always have a bottle of water with you.
- Consume more watery fruits and vegetables.
- If you often forget to drink water, set up a reminder every couple of hours.
- In case you have some of the following symptoms, rapid or very weak pulse, extremely thirsty, dizziness, not being able to urinate for more than 8 hours, immediately consult your doctor.