What is Dehydration?
What is Dehydration?
The definition of dehydration is the harmful reduction in the amount of water in your body is dehydration. This happens when more fluids leave the body than enter it. Low levels of dehydration can cause headaches, lethargy, and constipation. High levels can cause blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock). This is very serious and can be life-threatening. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in the body.
We can survive longer without food than water – That’s because the human body is comprised of about 75 percent water. This precious liquid can be found throughout our entire body including inside our cells, between our cells and blood vessels.
I bet you are wondering what causes dehydration, well sweating and urinating are the two biggest reasons why we lose water throughout the day. Other reasons are can be attributed to diarrheaand vomiting (occurs more frequently in young children and the ill). Medical conditions that can lead to dehydration include diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, alcoholism, and adrenal gland disorders.
Some interesting facts about dehydration
- 75 percent of Americans are habitually dehydrated, (ironically around the same amount of water inside our bodies)
- By the time you feel thirsty you are actually dehydrated
- Dehydration can causes memory problems, irritability, and fatigue
- Staying hydrated can improve your metabolism significantly (this means weight loss and keeping fit)
- Dehydration Is a very common risk factor contributing to Kidney Stones
- Athletes, older adults, and people at higher altitudes are more susceptible to dehydration
- Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and sodas can contribute to dehydration
When dehydration kicks in our body reallocate water to areas within the body where it is needed most. Think of your body as a water management system. Water levels need to be balanced so every organ can function properly.
Our first indication there is a water shortage is thirst. Unfortunately, we sometimes ignore this warning sign. Older people, who are ill, may not even get this warning sign. And that’s when the trouble begins.Minor dehydration can often be remedied by drinking more fluids(particularly water), however, in dire cases, immediate medical attention is needed. This should be taken very seriously or death can occur!
The most important treatment for dehydration is prevention
Getting plenty of fluids and eating foods that have high water content (like fruits and vegetables) should be sufficient for most people to prevent dehydration. Be cautious when exercising during extreme heat. Make sure drink at least 3 liters of water a day. Special consideration should be taken for the very young and elderly.
Follow these guidelines for water consumption and chances are you’ll feel a lot better. And remember… Listen to your body, it’s trying to tell you something!