Dehydration: The average American drinks 2.5 cups a day when the recommended intake is 10 cups a day. It’s no joke to say that most Americans are severely dehydrated, and that’s the leading factor behind some of the lifestyle diseases they tend to have later in their lives.
Depending on your daily routine and age, you may not even notice that you are dehydrated. While the symptoms and effects are clearer with some individuals, everyone does have specific signs of dehydration they should look for. Here, they are:
Causes of Dehydration
Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluid than it intakes. You may be dehydrated if you do not intake sufficient fluids throughout your day or due to an excessive loss of fluids during a short amount of time.
If you sweat excessively due to heat or fever, you will lose a lot of your bodily fluids. The same happens if you vomit or have diarrhea due to food poisoning or any other reason. In all these cases, you will face a fast depletion of fluids in your body.
There are specific sections of the society that are more at risk of facing dehydration due to their profession, location, or age. These are:
- Individuals who work outdoors during hot weather
- Elderly individuals
- Infants and younger children
- Individuals with chronic diseases
- Individuals residing at high altitude areas
You may not be aware of the common signs of dehydration and think that it is normal for your body to feel a specific way daily.
There are two types of dehydration: mild and severe. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Dark yellow colored urine with a strong smell
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Peeing rarely throughout the day (less than four times per day)
- A dry mouth and dry/cracked lips
These are the symptoms that both mildly and severely dehydrated people have in common. If you are facing severe dehydration, the effects can be more severe, and you may have constipation and headaches, too.
Effects of Dehydration
Dehydration has different effects on different people. In severe cases, you may have low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. You may also experience a lack of sweat and quick breathing.
If you suffer from prolonged dehydration, you can also have sunken eyes, dry skin all over your body, and extremely dark urine. You may also lose your concentration and feel fatigued throughout the day.
With mild dehydration, you may have light headaches throughout the day and experience constant thirst throughout the day. You require immediate medical attention to prevent further deterioration in your health that can even lead to death.
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When Do You Need Immediate Medical Attention?
If you have symptoms pointing to a severe case of dehydration, urgent care or medical attention is required. For most children and the elderly, immediate medical attention should be sought even if they’re facing a mild case of dehydration.
Other symptoms to watch out for that can require immediate professional help include severe cases of diarrhea, having blood in stool, disorientation, and dizziness. If you can’t keep fluids down, this is an indicator that immediate medical help is required.
Lifestyle Changes to Combat Dehydration
If you’ve faced a case of mild or severe dehydration before, you know that it is crucial to make necessary lifestyle changes to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Drinking the minimum recommended intake of fluids is essential to combating dehydration. If you are prone to facing dehydration due to health conditions or external factors, constantly hydrate yourself with fluids.
The recommended intake of fluids that women should take is 11.5 cups per day, whereas it is approximately 15.5 cups a day for men. This can vary depending on the climate, physical activity, weight, age, and other factors of an individual.
You can also find electrolyte drinks that help replenish water and electrolytes. They aren’t necessary to drink regularly, but only when you feel like you’ve lost a lot of fluids throughout the day.
Prevent Dehydration and Live a Healthier Life
When you watch out for these signs of dehydration, you can have an easier time living a healthier life. Long-term dehydration or constant bouts of dehydration can lead to kidney stones. Go to an urgent care center if you experience severe symptoms.
You can fall unconscious when you’ve been severely dehydrated with no fluid intake. Prevent irritability, mood swings, and more with proper hydration. It can also boost your metabolism and energy levels in the long term.