Most of us are familiar with dehydration – failure to have adequate water in the body. And while this can be caused by not drinking enough water, spending too much time in the heat, medical conditions or illness, what most of us don’t realize is what adequate hydration looks like, and why it is so important. Indeed, many of us are walking around without sufficient fluids, and our body has in many ways adapted to the altered intake.
The majority of the body is made up of water, and more than that, water is required for a significant number of regular body functions and normal day-to-day activity. Digestion and elimination use significant amounts of water, so does the natural energy generating process. Our blood is made up partly of water as well, and without adequate fluids, circulation, blood flow and oxygen delivery can all be compromised.
The body is very good at keeping internal fluid balance, but dehydration occurs when inadequate water is obtained and the balance is lost. This can also occur through an imbalance in electrolytes such as salt, magnesium and potassium.
Did you Know?
From difficulty concentrating, to low energy to inability to perform athletically, there are many ways that dehydration can affect you and it shows up through different symptoms for everyone. Here are some common things you may expect:
This is just an example of some of the symptoms that can be indicative of dehydration, and only in the early stages. Severe dehydration has outcomes that are much worse and may require hospitalisation if left untreated.
In most cases of dehydration, individuals can simply consume water and with time, will become adequately rehydrated. However, there are other options for maintaining hydration levels, including: