Being dehydrated is more than just needing more water.
Dehydration is actually a condition in which you lose more fluids than you take in, and it’s not just about thirst. With our bodies being almost 2/3 water, dehydration can also mean you do not have enough water in your body for it to function normally. Here are five signs of dehydration that you may be overlooking.
Signs You Are Dehydrated
#1 Bad breath. Our saliva has natural antibacterial properties to it, but when you are dehydrated, your body may not be making enough of it. Without the right amount of saliva, bacteria can start to grow in your mouth causing bad breath.
#2 Dry skin. Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, so it makes sense that when you are dehydrated, your skin becomes dry. But the reason may surprise you. As you get dehydrated, you experience a lack of blood volume, which causes the dryness in your skin.
#3 Muscle cramps. Muscles have the tendency to cramp up with too much heat. In fact, the hotter you get, the more your muscles cramp.
#4 Flu-like symptoms. If your body becomes severely dehydrated, you may start experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills.
#5 Headaches. Our brains sit in a sack a fluid that prevents it from bumping up against our skulls. When we become dehydrated, that sack also starts to run low on fluid, causing the brain to push up against the skull causing pain.
Who is at Risk for Dehydration?
While it is possible for anyone to become dehydrated if they lose more water than they take in, some people are more prone to it.
For example, hikers often tend to get dehydrated. The high altitudes make them sweat more and breathe harder, making it difficult for them to take in enough water to compensate. Athletes such as marathoners and cyclists are also prone to dehydration.
Infants and children are also more prone to dehydration than adults are, simply because they need more water than adults do. Seniors may also be more at risk because thirst triggers seem to weaken as we grow older, reducing their urge to drink water throughout the day.
How to Prevent Dehydration
While dehydration isn’t always life-threatening, it certainly can be. It is important to continually replenish your fluids, especially if you are doing activities that cause you to lose a lot of it such as exercise.
Always bring water with you if you’re going to be doing any type of physical activity or if it is hot outside. A good indication that your body needs more water is if your urine is dark. This indicates that your kidney is holding on to the liquids to help your body perform its normal functions.
Because our bodies need water to function properly, dehydration can be a serious problem. Listen to your body and watch for signs of dehydration. To prevent it, make sure you get enough fluids throughout the day.