More than 60% of our body is made of water. This percentage is slightly different depending on gender. Another interesting fact is that the brain is about 85% water.
People can’t live without drinking water for a long period of time. The tissues, organs, cells, and every process in our body relies on water.
Water is crucial for many things including:
- Maintenance and regulation of body temperature;
- Maintenance of balance of fluids found in the body;
- Lubrication of eyes and joints;
- Protection of spinal cord, tissues, and joints;
- Support of digestive processes;
- Support for skin health;
- Control of calorie intake.
If we don’t take water, our body won’t function normally. So, every individual must keep their body hydrated. In order to do this, we must drink fluids (primarily water) and take foods that are packed with water content.
There are situations in which our bodies spend more water. For instance, this is something that we can expect when we are engaged in intense physical activity when we experience diarrhea, excessive sweating, vomiting or deal with frequent urination and diabetes.
In situations like this, people have an imbalance in the electrolyte levels in the body which results in dehydration and our body decreases its performance.
The majority of people don’t know when the body doesn’t have a sufficient amount of water in it. By learning more about the symptoms of dehydration, you will find out when you must increase water intake.
Signs that Your Body is Lacking Water
The following is a list of ten signs that show your body needs more water.
1. Headaches and dizziness
Dizziness and headaches are very frequent signs of dehydration. If your body experiences low hydration levels, this is usually felt in the head because the fluids around the brain are decreased and these fluids absorb the pressure from movement and bumps.
That’s why people start experiencing headaches and in some cases – migraines. In addition, the lack of water disrupts the proper flow of blood and oxygen to our brains.
According to a report revealed five years ago in the reputable Handbook of Clinical Neurology, dehydration is one of the main reasons why people experience headaches related to tension and migraines.
If you have a headache, try to drink more water instead of using some drugs. In case your headache is caused by dehydration it will be eliminated quickly.
2. Mental confusion or poor concentration
As we have already mentioned, our brain is made up of more than 85% water, so it is quite logical to expect certain problems in cases of dehydration. An insufficient amount of water in the brain will have a strong impact on our memory, mood, and ability to make decisions.
In addition, dehydration can lead to mental confusion too. It is not unusual for dehydrated individuals to be forgetful and to be unable to focus, think, or even communicate.
A scientific study conducted two years ago and revealed in the famous Clinical Autonomic Research magazine shows that dehydration is one of the main causes of mental confusion together with insomnia, chronic fatigue, feeling faint and long-lasting standing.
Another scientific study conducted four years ago and published in the reputable British Journal of Nutrition, has confirmed that individuals who are even mildly dehydrated had worse results on cognitive activities and had problems with making decisions. Dehydration also resulted in anxiety and mood changes.
Finally, a scientific study from 2011, revealed in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that lightheadedness, headaches, poor concentration, and bad mood are a direct result of a 1.4% dehydration in women.
3. Halitosis and dry mouth
Halitosis or bad breath is a common sign of dehydration. Since our body lacks water it cannot create a sufficient amount of saliva which provides antibacterial effects. This results in the procreation of bacteria in the oral cavity which ultimately leads to bad/unpleasant breath.
Halitosis is often accompanied by dry mouth. Water is the best natural lubricant that maintains the moisture in the mucus membranes located in the throat.
4. Constipation and few more digestive problems
Water is here to ease the work of the digestive system and supports the flexibility and cleanliness of the digestive tract. If this system gets enough water, the bowel movement will be good and you won’t experience constipation.
In addition, an increased fluid loss that comes as a result of vomiting or diarrhea may result in very hard stools and eventually to constipation. Dehydration can sometimes result in indigestion and heartburn.
A study conducted 12 years ago and revealed in the famous European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, states that lack of fluids increases the chances of developing constipation. So, if you want to avoid constipation drink water regularly.
5. Unexpected food cravings
When you feel unexpected food cravings, instead of eating some unhealthy snacks, drink one glass of water. If your body is dehydrated, it creates false signals and sends them to the brain. Our brain believes that we are hungry even though we are just thirsty.
Thinking about salty snacks is usually a result of the loss of fluids and electrolytes. Just drink some of the popular sports drinks that have sodium in it or even better – make lemon water made by lemon juice from one lemon and one glass of water mixed with one teaspoon of table salt.
There are many people who have food cravings focused on sweet foods. This problem occurs when the body has problems with the production of glycogen. If you experience such cravings frequently, take fruit like papaya, watermelon, or some kind of berries because they are very sweet and have a high amount of water.
6. Decreased urine output and changes in the color of urine
Many people are unaware of the fact that if they are not visiting the toilet every 3-4 hours, they are probably mildly dehydrated. If you take a sufficient quantity of water, you will urinate on a regular basis (up to seven times a day). This is good because urination helps us eliminate all the toxins that accumulate in the body over time.
In addition, check the color and shade of the urine from time to time. Its color can tell us a lot about our hydration. Transparent or light-colored urine is a clear sign of a hydrated body. Amber and dark yellow urine are often associated with dehydration.
7. Tiredness and sluggishness
In case you feel tired and lethargic, you might want to check whether you are hydrated or not. Insufficient water intake leads to very low blood pressure and improper oxygen delivery in the body and our brain is not an exception. If there is not enough oxygen in the brain we feel sleepy, sluggish, and tired.
Additionally, if you are dehydrated, the body has to work harder in order to provide good blood flow, nutrient transportation, and breathing. So, it is quite natural to feel tired and exhausted when the body works harder.
If you want to feel energetic, drink water on a regular basis. It is a good idea to take a bottle of water with you anywhere you go.
8. Muscle and joint pain
According to many doctors, water is crucial for the health of our cartilage and joints. As a matter of fact, these parts of the body are made of 80% water. So, if you lack water, the bones will start to wear and tear which will result in intense joint pain.
On the other hand, if the body is hydrated, the joints will be able to manage any kind of movement including sudden movements common in activities like jumping and running or even falling without feeling any pain.
In addition, losing fluids as a result of excessive perspiration can lead to greater muscle contraction and eventually to muscle cramps. A scientific study conducted seven years ago and revealed in the popular Journal of Applied Physiology states that the level of water in the body is very important when it comes to the regulation of metabolic and hormonal responses to resistance training.
9. Dry, Scaly Lips and Skin
Dry skin that has lost its flexibility is a clear sign of dehydration. In case you didn’t know, the skin is the largest organ in the body and if we want this organ to work properly it needs sufficient water supply.
If we don’t take enough water, we will sweat less and the body won’t be able to eliminate extra oil and dirt buildups on the skin during the day. What is even worse is that water supports the elimination of toxins from the body, so dehydration actually supports the formation of eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
The same goes for chapped and dry lips. So, even if you are hydrating the skin with some moisturizer, it is the best idea to drink a lot of water.
10. Tachycardia (Rapid Heartbeat)
Lack of water in the body affects the heart rate and the performance of our heart in general. Dehydration leads to reduced plasma volume and the blood becomes more viscous. In other words, the blood flow becomes slower which forces our heart to work harder.
A study conducted more than a year ago, revealed in the popular Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research confirms that dehydration provides negative effects to our heart’s performance.
Scientists have concluded that the heart rate alters for about three beats in a minute for every one percent change in our body mass that comes as a result of dehydration.
In addition, lack of water leads to changes in the levels of electrolytes in the body which ultimately results in low blood pressure. Because of the additional stress on the body, the heartbeat is accelerated. This is a very unpleasant experience that often leads to panic attacks.
In case you think that your heart is beating faster than unusual, simply drink a couple of glasses of water and see whether they will change anything. In case nothing happens, visit your doctor right away.
How to prevent dehydration?
Take plenty of fluids especially water throughout the day. There is no universal answer to the question “How much water should I drink” because it depends on many factors like your location, your activity level, and your health in general.
Drink one large glass of water in the morning and drink one large glass of water before every main meal.
In case you can’t drink water all the time because you don’t have time, use your smartphone to set an alarm when you need to drink water.
Try to take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go.
Besides drinking more water, consume fruits and veggies that are packed with water.
Stay away from drinks that can lead to dehydration like energy drinks, alcohol, and caffeine-rich drinks.
If you are dealing with a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, take more fluids because you can end up with severe dehydration.
Talk to your doctor as soon as you notice the aforementioned symptoms, like lightheadedness, thirst, irregular urination, or very weak/fast heartbeat.