How to Avoid Becoming a Dehydration Victim

It is a well-known fact that the human body is composed mostly of water and this is what makes dehydration a serious problem that can be easily avoided.

It refers to a condition where the body loses more water than it takes in. The condition causes serious degradation in overall body performance and, in severe cases, can result in coma or death.

The Importance of Water and Electrolytes

As mentioned previously, a significant percentage of your body is composed of water. For example, a 150-pound male has a water content of around 11 gallons while a 120-pound female has a water content of around 7 gallons.

Water is responsible for maintaining many functions and components of your body. Two very important functions are cooling and maintaining blood supply. Without proper hydration, water can be lost to a point where internal body temperature rises (because of lack of cooling) and blood supply decreases thus interfering with oxygen getting to all parts.

Other parts and functions of the body maintained by sufficient water levels include bodily required for joint lubrication, the ability to sweat, and the ability to pass urine.

Preventing dehydration is not just about water. Certain minerals known as electrolytes are needed by the body as well. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. Electrolytes are critical for proper nerve responses that control a myriad of physical movements and mental cognition.

They prevent water intoxication, trigger thirst sensation, enable muscle contraction and relaxation, trigger metabolization of proteins and carbohydrates, prevent muscle cramps, and help the body convert glycogen to energy that the muscles can use.

The Symptoms of Dehydration

The symptoms of this condition can range from moderate to severe and their impact depends on the age of a person. For example, if an infant or small child shows signs of the condition then it is considered an emergency and one should seek medical care. This is because infants and small children have smaller body mass and therefore have less water.

At the lower end of the severity spectrum, the mild form of losing too much water will manifest itself as dry lips, dry mouth, thirst, dark urine, and low urine output. Midway in the spectrum, the person suffering from excessive water deficiency will begin to display sunken eyes, have extreme thirst, and have a condition where the skin does not bounce back quickly when pinched.

Causes of Dehydration

There are several causes for this condition with the most common being illness and heat exposure. Another cause is inaccessibility to suitable drinking water which is more common in developing nations. Illness-related forms of it can be the result of diabetes, fever, diarrhea, or excessive vomiting. Any condition or injury where more water is going out of your system faster than it is taken in can be a cause.

Water and Electrolytes: The Keys to Prevention

The most obvious remedy for dehydration is to drink plenty of water however you must be careful to drink it in small sips. Too much water too fast can have a detrimental effect on your body. Any drink, such as Gatorade, that is designed to improve electrolyte levels can in some cases be as good if not better than water.

You can buy additives that are much better than sports drinks that are loaded with sugar. With these types of sports drinks, the sugar will cause your insulin levels to spike and you can actually become more exhausted while exercising.

If you wait until you are thirsty to drink the water you need, it might be too late and the condition may already be starting. You should drink the appropriate amount of water based on your weight, gender, exercise routine, and other factors such as if you are ill, pregnant, or breast feeding. For example, a man around 150 pounds who exercises for 60 minutes each day should have a daily water intake of about 97 ounces. A woman around 120 pounds who exercises for 60 minutes each day should have a daily water intake of about 66 ounces.

Drink your water slowly throughout the day. When exercising, have a water bottle with you and take sips from it during your session because sweat will cause you to lose more fluids. Don’t become a victim of this condition. Dehydration is easily avoided by making sure you get enough water, especially during physical exertion.