The first thing you do when you feel thirsty is to gulp down some water. But what you don't know is that there are several other ways in which your body is telling that it is dehydrated and that you haven't had enough water.
Water. One of the most important elements in life, living without which is extremely difficult. And we're not talking about the oceans or water for our daily use. We're talking about the water that is present in our body and helps keep us healthy.
Much like sleep, drinking the right or recommended amount of water can improve your bodily functions. While logically we know that we should ideally be drinking at least two liters of water every day, somehow many of us manage to forget about maintaining that amount. That's when the dehydration strikes and it does not bode well for your body.
According to NHS Inform, when the normal water content of your body is reduced, it can upset the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body. And this can lead to your organs not functioning the way they should. In fact, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, reports DripDrop.
So then how do you know you're dehydrated? Apart from feeling thirsty, that is? These seven signs will tell you.
Over half of your blood is made up of plasma. Plasma is the clear, straw-colored liquid portion of blood which is made up of water, salts, enzymes, antibodies, and other proteins, according to Donating Plasma. When you don't drink enough water, this plasma gets too concentrated which in turn slows down blood flow to your vital organs. That is why you'll start to feel light-headed more often and why your blood pressure is low.
Your renal system requires water to function as it is key in helping your kidneys get rid of waste in your blood by converting it to urine. By not drinking enough water, you risk more of this waste remaining in your body. As a result, your urine also becomes darker due to the concentrated waste that leaves your body. Your urine should ideally be pale or straw-colored.
According to Healthline, headaches come about even if you're mildly dehydrated. This is due to the fact that your brain doesn't have enough fluids to function and the drop in blood pressure can make it worse.
That intense pain in your muscles when it cramps up is another ugly side effect of dehydration. This occurs when your blood becomes more concentration leading to a drop in blood volume. When there isn't enough blood to send to all your organs, it can cause cramps.
In the heat, whether from the weather or from a workout, you lose internal water through sweat. In cooler weather, due to the dry air, you lose moisture then too. This results in rough, red, cracked, clammy, and tight skin. And since your skin is the biggest organ of your body, it needs excess water in order to reduce that dryness says Mayo Clinic.
Water helps digest food easier and move the waste along your digestive tract into your intestine. When you don't have enough water, the food is harder to break down and move through your intestines. This can cause you to find it hard to excrete and when you do, it can lead to small lump-like excreta. However, too much of constipation can cause you to bleed through your anus.
Inside your mouth, there are scores of bacteria. One function of saliva is to wash away that bacteria. In order to create that saliva though, your body needs plenty of water. By drinking more water, more saliva is produced, thus helping get rid of odor-causing bacteria.
It should be noted that severe dehydration can cause many health complications. In worse case scenarios, it can lead to seizures. Consult your doctor on how much water to drink based on your weight and how to avoid dehydration.