Water plays an important role in maintaining multiple physiological function within our body. This is because water is essential for survival, normally we can go up to 3 weeks without food but you can’t last more than 3 to 4 days without water. Our body cells contain water and are surrounded by water. When we suffer from dehydration, these cells become less permeable which can cause problem absorbing nutrient and removing waste from the body.
Dehydration occurs as a result of water loss from the body that exceed water replacement. It may be caused by failure to replace the amount of water the body needs. Water from the body is lost through the skin, lung, kidney and gastrointestinal tract. The loss of water from the body without sodium causes dehydration. Dehydration affects human beings of all ages and it may be complicated, and can lead to other significant illness. The most effective ways to treat dehydration is to increase your fluid or water intake.
Forms of dehydration
- Isotonic dehydration: isotonic dehydration occurs when water and sodium are lost together. The cause of isotonic dehydration is as a result of vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, burns, intrinsic kidney disease, hyperglycemia and hypoaldosteronism.
- Hypertonic hydration: this occurs when water loss exceeds sodium loss. Serum, sodium and osmolality will always be elevated in hypertonic dehydration. Hypertonic dehydration occurs through the skin, lungs and kidney.
- Hypotonic dehydration: this occurs when there is more sodium loss than water loss and it is caused by diuretics. Hypotonic dehydration is characterized by low sodium and osmolality.
Signs of dehydration
Although not every individual present all the signs of dehydration, but some signs might be similar with another individual experiencing dehydration. The following are the signs of dehydration and they include:
- Palpitation (rapid heart beat
- Dark yellow urine or decrease in urine output
- Dry skin or lips
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Frequent thirst
- Muscle cramps
- Lightheadedness, dizziness and headaches
- Sunken eyes
- Lack of sweat, no tears, or you hardly urinate.
Causes of dehydration
One of the major causes of dehydration is lack of inadequate amount of water in the body or when you loose water quickly through sweating, vomiting and diarrhea. Certain medication like diuretics (water pills) can result to cause dehydration.
Benefits of taking water
- Water helps you make saliva especially when you are eating.
- Water helps you to balance your body chemicals. Also, the brains need water to create hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Water helps you distribute oxygen all over your body
- Water helps to work your joints and lubricate them too.
- Water is important to regulate body temperature.
- Water is important to aid digestion and help to get rid of waste from the body.
Tips on how to prevent dehydration
- Drink between 6 to 8 cups of water per day, especially when the temperature is high or when you have fever.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet such as fruit and vegetables. This is because they contain large amount of water, salt and vitamins can help prevent dehydration.
- Limit the amount of coffee, alcohol and caffeinated drinks you are taking. This is because they are diuretics that can leach water out of the body.
- Avoid protein drinks and alcoholic beverages because they can cause dehydration, instead drink sport drinks, milk and broth.
- Make sure you always have water within your reach each time you need it. Drink water always don’t wait until you are thirsty
- Don’t skip regular meals, it helps you take more water as you eat.
Ways to help you drink more water
- Add flavor like lime or lemon juice to your water to make it taste better or try some flavored drink mixes but watch your sugar intake.
- Try drinking smaller amount of water throughout the day if you don’t like drinking a lot of water
- Chooses water instead of sugary drinks when eating
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water such as cucumber and watermelon.
Dehydration is when there is limited amount of water in the body and it is treatable by just taking a lot of water or fluid. You start by sipping small amount of water throughout the day to help you stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to some illness that can affect our body.
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