When a living body loses more water than it intakes, it is likely to suffer from dehydration.
Women and men are recommended to drink 92 and 124 fluid ounces of water per day, respectively.
For those who are frequently exposed to high temperatures or have a tedious routine, the daily amount of drinking water must be increased accordingly.
Adequate water intake is necessary to prevent dehydration, which may cause many health-related problems.
If you’re suffering from or need to prevent dehydration and related problems, this article is for you.
This article explores the significance of water for a living body, what happens if it is lost too much and how you can make up for the lost water.
So, keep reading!
Why is Drinking Water Essential for the Body?
60-75% of the human body is water, therefore, all the biochemical reactions taking place inside require an aqueous media.
This means your cell membranes, organs, and tissues require water for their protection and to ensure that they function properly as well.
Additionally, the body regulates its temperature using water.
For major processes like digestion, respiration, and excretion of waste, water is also a necessary element that must be adequately available to ensure each function is properly carried out.
Unfortunately, the human body isn’t naturally equipped to store water. Consequently, it requires a fresh supply every day, and so we must stay hydrated.
If you lose water at a faster rate than you put in, the supply will fall short of the need and you’re likely to develop even mild dehydration.
However, if the situation persists for an extended period, it can cause you to become severely dehydrated, which can leave you chronically dehydrated and it is also life-threatening.
Mild dehydration can be easily treated at home; it requires simple dietary and lifestyle changes.
However, extreme dehydration may require you to visit a hospital and seek assistance from a medical professional.
Who is at the Risk of Developing Dehydration?
People who work outside under the sun or are exposed to serious heat often develop dehydration.
These may include athletes, construction workers, landscapers, laborers, etc.
In addition, elderly people, infants, or people living in higher altitudes are at a greater risk of developing dehydration.
Sometimes, chronic medical conditions also contribute to the development of mild-to-severe dehydration.
Fitness fanatics who do intense exercise are also at risk of developing hydration issues, as they sweat profusely.
Their hydration status is highly dependent on their daily fluid intake. If there is an inadequate intake, dehydration occurs.
How does Dehydration Occur?
The three major factors that may cause dehydration to develop include
- Excessive Sweating
- Frequent Urination
- Persistent Vomiting
This is a natural cooling process that occurs when a living body becomes hot.
The sweat glands are activated to release moisture for decreasing the internal body temperature.
As the sweat drops evaporate from the skin, they take a small amount of heat with them, which then causes cooling.
Excessive sweating causes excessive loss of moisture from the body, which in turn causes dehydration.
Note that the sweat you produce has both salt and water. So, excessive sweating can cause you to lose electrolytes as well.
If you develop conditions like food poisoning, continuous vomiting may cause dehydration.
This is because a lot of water is expelled from your body along with many important electrolytes.
This is an excretory procedure to release toxins from the body. Chemical imbalances can increase the frequency of urine which is a major risk factor for dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Look out for these symptoms, as they can help you determine if you are dehydrated. If you have noticed any of them lately, it might be time to seek medical attention.
Common signs and symptoms of mild dehydration include
- Unusually dry mouth
- Increased thirst
- Dry skin/eyes
- Little-to-no-tear production
The signs of severe dehydration might be somewhat different including;
- Low blood pressure
- Dark urine
- Extreme thirst
- Lack of sweat
- Rapid heart rate and breathing
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach flu
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth
- Wrinkled skin
Mild-to-moderate dehydration can be treated conventionally. Eating hydrating foods, like berries, melons, oranges, and drinking an adequate amount of water daily might make up for it.
However, severe dehydration is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment by medical professionals.
Therefore, if you are experiencing any of its symptoms, get in touch with your doctor now!
How Can You Hydrate Yourself Quickly? How Electrolytes Can Help
Here, we have some amazing tips that will help with your rehydration process.
We have exclusively listed the simplest and easiest tips that can efficiently make up for your water and fluid loss to remedy or avoid dehydration.
You need not invest a lot of money or time and energy practicing them and they can fit into your daily life easily.
1) Drink as much water as you can
It should come as no surprise that drinking water is the simplest and least expensive option to aid the rehydration process.
Being a natural source of many electrolytes, when you drink water after strenuous exercise and activities that affect your hydration, it is likely to make up for the loss of electrolytes and lost fluids.
Water, being unique among other beverages, has no added sugars or calories.
Thus, you can easily guzzle it throughout the day without any diet or weight concerns.
If you have a physically active day, you should keep a water bottle with you all the time. It could be of any desired size as per your daily intake target.
The more water you will drink, the more benefits you reap.
Note that it isn’t necessary that you drink mineral water all the time. It is comparatively better than plain water but the latter will do if the mineral water is not available.
Also, for people with a busy routine, they can set reminders on your phones and watches.
There are many health apps available online that include such features.
Download one and set your target, and put on an alarm. It will help you remember to drink water daily!
Replacing your other drinks with water can also be a good option.
Whenever you feel like drinking soda or some juice, try to have water instead. It might not be tasty but will surely be one of the healthiest oral hydration solutions.
Plus, if you don’t like your beverages plain, you can always add a piece of watermelon, some berries, cucumber, or orange slices.
2) Oral rehydration solution/salts
Another very effective and often suggested recommendation for boosting your body’s hydration process is the use of oral rehydration salts. They are commonly known as ORS.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the standard formulation of glucose‐based ORS with 90 mmol/L of sodium and 111 mmol/L of glucose and a total osmolarity of 311 mmol/L, particularly for children.
An effective ORS contains sodium, which absorbs nutrients, glucose which energizes the body, and electrolytes that maintain ideal fluid balance.
Thus, it can be considered a 3 in 1 package!
It has been found that glucose aids the body to absorb sodium and water, which is referred to as sodium-glucose co-transport.
Correct usage of ORS not only saves you from low sodium levels, fluid imbalance, and restores important nutrients, but also from health issues like acidity and kidney failure.
It must be noted that ORS should be taken in moderate amounts, as excessive consumption during the hydration process can lead to skin rash, acute toxicity, and upset stomach.
Therefore, you must monitor the amount of ORS you’re taking.
3) Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables
After water, hydrating foods serve as the second most natural way of making up for water and fluid loss.
They are helpful when drinking adequate amounts of water is not always possible, like in winters. In such circumstances, one needs to look for alternative methods to rehydrate quickly.
There are numerous fruits and vegetables with very high water content ranging from 80% to 99%.
Some of them include berries, melons, grapes, oranges, spinach, carrots, lettuces, etc.
These are super rich in water and 1-2 cup servings every day can help you with restoring a significant amount of water.
Apart from hydration purposes, fruits and vegetables are beneficial to one’s general health, especially when compared to highly processed foods.
They keep people fit and energetic by fulfilling their mineral requirements and treating digestion issues.
If you are not fond of veggies and fruits, we have two other delicious options at the table! They are coconut water and soup.
4) Coconut water
This is a rich source of electrolytes, like calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
This is very beneficial since rehydration is not about regaining water only but also electrolytes.
Proper fluid balance is when you have both; water and electrolytes.
Around 1 cup of coconut water can provide you with 9-10% of the daily value of these electrolytes, especially potassium.
Furthermore, coconut water has lately gained popularity as a sports drink substitute, owing to its high potassium content, which is crucial to replenish after a strenuous workout.
These are made with broth and are also a good example of hydrating food.
Soups like chicken noodles and minestrone include salt as well as water, which is beneficial for quick rehydration.
Sweat is a major source of salt loss in the body, especially during strenuous activities. However, don’t eat too much-canned soup because it contains far more salt than your body requires.
4) Alternative drinks
There are alternative drinks that can help you treat dehydration.
Coffee and tea have a good repute. Moderate tea consumption has hydrating qualities equivalent to water. Additionally, the stimulant caffeine may provide an energy boost. However, if consumed excessively they can be a little dangerous.
Fresh juices are another notable option that can help boost water restoration.
Milk also has a large electrolyte concentration so can be trusted for rehydration. If you’re concerned about putting on weight due to regular milk intake, low-fat milk can be a good solution.
5) IV hydration
IV therapy is packed with water, minerals, and vitamins for intravenous rehydration.
They can be a fast way to provide optimal hydration to an individual.
Intravenous hydration allows nutrients to bypass the gastrointestinal tract and be absorbed directly in the blood and passed to blood cells more rapidly.
Therefore, healthcare professionals often use this as a means of combating severe hydration issues, as IV drips are one of the fastest ways to ensure rehydration.
IV therapy also aid with increasing a reduced blood volume.
Dehydration, if left unaddressed, can be life-threatening.
If you are experiencing symptoms that are indicative of dehydration, try to intake more fluids by using an oral rehydration solution, water, or fruits to alleviate mild dehydration.
For more severe cases, seeking medical attention where you may receive IV drips is highly recommended.
To prevent the need to combat dehydration, try to consume enough water, like a few glasses per day.