How To Tell When You're Dehydrated

Remember to reach for your water every day to avoid dehydration!

Everyone can agree that drinking enough water throughout the day is essential. We’re bombarded by messages from the medical community about how we should be drinking more water. But other than the over-arching goal of more of it in our daily diets, what do you know about the possibility of dehydration and what it can look and feel like to you?

The average human body consists of approximately 60% water. Through sweating, breathing, moving, and just living our lives we lose water, even when we don’t realize it. That’s why replenishing your body’s water is so vital to your health. When your body lacks water, you become dehydrated. Depending on how low your fluids are, your state of dehydration could range from mild to severe.

So What Causes Dehydration?

  • Sweating: If you’ve been sweating excessively as a result of intense exercise, your body may be lacking in water, especially if it’s not a very warm day.
  • Diabetes: If you suffer from diabetes, and it’s not being monitored, an increase in urine creation may hinder your body’s ability to maintain its water supply.
  • Fever: When you have a fever, your body is working hard to keep your temperature down; you’re losing fluids in that process.
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea: Both vomiting and diarrhea involve the flushing of your system, typically to counteract illness in your body.
  • Lack Of Appetite: When we aren’t hungry, we tend not to be thirsty either, which can lead to extended periods of time without hydrating.

It’s especially important for young children, the geriatric population, and people with illnesses to closely monitor their water intake, as they are at a higher risk for dehydration.

How Do You Know When You’re Dehydrated?

It can be tough to know when your body needs water. An easy visual test to determine your hydration is the color of your urine. If your urine has a dark yellow or orange tint, you are likely dehydrated, as there isn’t enough water in your system to dilute the urine to a lighter-colored state.

Moreover, if you experience any of the following then you may be mildly dehydrated:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dry mouth, possibly with a sticky sensation
  • Actively thirsty
  • Less of a need for urination
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Most mild cases of dehydration can be treated by drinking water or a sports beverage. But if you experience any of the following, head directly to the hospital, as these are signs of severe dehydration:

  • Uncontrollable thirst
  • Confusion
  • Extremely dry mouth and skin
  • No to little sweating
  • Complete lack of energy
  • Increased heart rate
  • Very infrequent urination
  • Fever

If drinking more water seems like an overwhelming task, or even just another item on your to-do list that you never get around to doing, start with baby steps. Replace one soda per day with a glass of water. Keep a bottle of water near you while you work so you can sip it. Take the right actions to get your body functioning at its highest capacity by hydrating it with the most natural drink available.

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