Have you ever asked yourself if you’ve been drinking enough water? Do you know the signs of dehydration? Look no further — I’m here to help answer your questions with an informative guide for you to follow.
Why Is Drinking Water Important?
If you didn’t already know, the human body is made up of up to 75% of water, so drinking helps replenish those levels. Drinking water helps with getting rid of waste, creating saliva, regulating our body temperature, and improving brain function.
Saliva helps keep our mouths healthy. It’s made up of a mixture of water, mucus, electrolytes, and enzymes. Our mouths create less saliva as we grow older, and saliva levels decrease when we take certain medications, so we need to drink water and help replenish the supply.
Also, whenever we work out or become hot we tend to sweat. It’s this sweating that causes the water levels in our bodies to drop. To take care of this, we need to drink water to prevent serious health issues later on.
We also lose water when we go to the bathroom. Did you know that constipation could be due to low water in your body? Water helps us have healthy bathroom habits.
Furthermore, water helps to “grease” our joints so we don’t have joint pain. It also helps break down our food during the digestion process, helps us lose weight, helps soak up nutrients — the list just goes on and on.
How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?
So how much water should a person drink? Well, sometimes it depends on the lifestyle you have. For example, if you exercise and have an active lifestyle then you would need to drink more water than someone who barely has time to work out.
You get 20% of your water consumption from the meals you eat. According to experts, men should have around 125 ounces and women should have 91 ounces. Now, this doesn’t mean you measure out this much water and take it in one go. It’s more like a basic guide to follow, kind of like your daily calorie intake.
What Happens When I Don’t Drink Enough Water?
If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll face health problems like dehydration. Dehydration means you are losing more water than your body gains, and it can lead to other health issues, such as muscle cramps, light-headedness, vomiting, diarrhea, and more. The worst medical issue from this is heatstroke/sunstroke.
Heatstroke is when your body’s temperature becomes too high and loses control. The temperature will only get worse, you’ll sweat less, and you can’t cool off. If you don’t treat this, you could become very sick or even die. The best thing for you to do is to get into a cool shady place or hop into an ice bath. Once in a cool environment, drink room temperature water and try to rehydrate.
Note that you should NOT drink ice water. You might think it would help you to cool down faster but it will only make muscle cramps worse than they are.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Extreme thirst
- Dark yellow urine that smells
- Dryness of the eyes, lips, and mouth
- Irregular urination patterns, such as going less than four times a day
Symptoms of Heatstroke:
- Body heat above 103 degrees Fahrenheit
- Hot reddish skin with zero sweating
- Quick and solid pulse
- Horrible head pain
When To Seek Medical Attention
If someone is experiencing heat stroke, they need to get medical assistance right away. Call 9-1-1 or get to an emergency room. Get them to a cool place, put them in ice water, spray them down with water, or place cold wet towels around them. Have them remove articles of clothing if need be.
Take consistent temperature checks and try to get their fever below 100. If they experience cramps, try to help them stretch. Have them place salt under their tongue or make them drink a mixture of mustard and pickle juice. Mustard because the body loses acetic acid during a muscle cramp, and the acetylcholine in mustard helps. Pickle juice because it contains vinegar and salt, which have enzymes that help hydrate our body.
What Else Helps with Cramping and Hydration
Drink sports drinks
Sports drinks like Gatorade have been helping with hydration and cramping for years because they contain higher levels of electrolytes and carbohydrates.
Foods with high electrolyte contents
Bananas contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium; beans and lentils contain high levels of magnesium; and sweet potatoes, melons, and avocados contain a lot of potassium.
Water is important to help maintain all of the body’s functions. There are plenty of beverages and foods that can help you hydrate. You need to drink water according to your climate and lifestyle. Be aware of dehydration and heat stroke symptoms. Please seek medical help if heatstroke occurs.