- Allied Health
Since the average adult body is made up of around 60% water, fluids are our most vital resource for survival.
But, even if you’re not planning on being in a survival situation or trapped in a dry desert anytime soon, keeping up with your water intake is still essential to your body’s health and function. Without it, you risk becoming dehydrated and that’s where a laundry list of things can start to go downhill.
You’re probably thinking “well duh!” It seems obvious, but plenty of people ignore signs of thirst because they’re busy, tired, or the tap seems an impossible distance away from the couch. Good hydration means drinking water before you become very thirsty. If you’re thirsty, chances are you’re already dehydrated.
When your stomach starts rumbling, don’t immediately reach for the snacks. Millions of people mistake thirst for hunger on the daily since the brain sends similar signals for both. If you’re feeling hungry shortly after eating or can’t seem to quench those rumblings, you could be dehydrated, and a few glasses of water will make the feeling subside.
Your urine is darker and infrequent
Pale urine is a good sign you’re well hydrated, but if it’s on the darker/amber side you need to get more fluids in. People who are dehydrated will also urinate much less frequently, so pay attention to how many trips to the bathroom you’ve had today.
Fatigue is a very noticeable symptom of dehydration, but not treated with fluids often enough. Commonly mistaken for just plain tiredness or a mid-morning/afternoon energy slump, fatigue due to dehydration is your body being unable to keep up with the demand of nutrients and oxygen to our cells due to a lack of fluids to help it function. Where you’d reach for a sugar hit or a coffee, try water instead.
You have a headache
Dehydration headaches can occur even at the mildest level of your body’s fluid intake being on the lower side. As you go about your daily activities, you lose fluid through sweat, exercise, and even general tasks. Loss of fluid that isn’t being replenished at the same rate also means a loss of electrolytes (vital minerals that help to regulate bodily functions). A loss of electrolytes leads to headaches, muscle cramping, and other unpleasant symptoms.
More severe forms of dehydration can be just a short step away from some of these warning signs, so it’s crucial to monitor your daily water intake and keep up with your body’s demand.