Dehydration is a condition that can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. It is easy to not realize that you are dehydrated, especially when being active. Getting dehydrated disrupts the levels of salts and sugars present in the blood, which can interfere with the way the body functions. Medically, dehydration usually means a person has lost enough fluid so that the body begins to lose its ability to function normally and then begins to produce symptoms related to the fluid loss.
Two-thirds of the human body is composed of water (about 75%). It provides numerous benefits such as lubrication of the joints and eyes, and the flushing out of toxins. As the water content in the blood begins to decline, the resulting imbalance in the levels of minerals, salts and sugars can cause several harmful effects.
Symptoms of Dehydration
- bad breath
- dry skin
- muscle cramps
- fatigue and/or confusion
- dry eyes or blurred vision
- dark yellow urine
A study from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly.
Further Problems with Dehydration
- stiffness in joints
- digestive problems/ acid reflux
- bladder or kidney problems
- the concentrated toxins create an environment that bacteria loves – this may cause inflammation or infection
- high cholesterol
- body will produce more cholesterol to prevent water loss
- premature skin aging
- water loss makes it hard for skin to eliminate toxins and makes it more vulnerable to skin disorders
- weight gain
- if you are consistently dehydrated you end up eating more; research has also shown that by increasing water intake you end up losing weight because your body burns extra calories
Drink the following amounts of fluids when exercising rigorously or in very hot weather:
- Two cups during the two hours before exercising; 1 to 2 cups within 15 minutes of the activity
- One half to 1 cup every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise (One medium mouthful of fluid equals about 1 ounce, and 8 ounces equals 1 cup.)
- Drink 3 cups for each pound of body weight lost.
How to Remember to Drink Water
We all have cell phones with apps these days – use a scheduling or reminder app to help you drink water. It will soon become a habit (according to research new habits take an average 66 days to become permanent). So, start with some help and before you know it you have created a new healthy habit!
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