The Top 5 Dangers of Dehydration
Don't Ignore your Thirst
The days are becoming warmer and as a result, many people are spending more time outside in the sun. When planning to be outside in the summer for a prolonged period, we often remember sunscreen and drink plenty of water before we go outside. Unfortunately, we tend to forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. This can lead to serious physical health issues as well as mental health issues.
Anyone can become dehydrated, especially when extremely active, engaging in intense exercise, or prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Young children and older adults are at a higher risk of the dangers of becoming dehydrated. In children, dehydration is typically a result of severe diarrhea and vomiting while older adults have a naturally lower volume of water in their bodies.
The Benefits of Drinking Water
Scientists estimate that our bodies are composed of about 60% water (with muscle being composed of about 80% water). According to an article on healthline.com, monitoring your fluid intake and staying hydrated has many proven physical and mental health benefits including:
- A dramatic impact on our physical performance with noticeable effects observed with as little as 2% water loss
- Helps moderate our temperature control, motivation, and fatigue level
- Impact on energy levels and brain functionality (including memory)
- Prevention and treatment of headaches
- Helps treat Urinary (kidney) stones
- Helps with weight loss
- Electrolyte regulation and cell hydration
Symptoms of Dehydration
It is important to understand and be able to identify the symptoms of dehydration so that you may stay hydrated. The easiest and most common sign that you may be becoming dehydrated is if you start to feel thirsty.
Infants and young children both show signs of dehydration similarly. The signs of dehydration in this age group include having a dry mouth and tongue, lacking tears when crying, and the lack of a wet diaper for more than three hours.
In adults, the symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and fatigue. Both children and adults with clear urine are typically well hydrated.
Dangers of Dehydration
Dehydration can have very serious health implications including death. The negative effects of dehydration are many. Here are 5 Dangers of Dehydration:
Many things can cause seizures. One common cause is the result of your body not getting enough of the electrolytes that it needs. Electrolytes help carry electrical signals from one cell to another and when your electrolytes are not properly balanced, your body may react with seizures.
2. Urinary and Kidney problems
Prolonged dehydration has been shown to contribute to many urinary problems. Some of these problems may include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney damage, and even kidney failure, according to an article by mayoclinic.org.
Kidney stones (renal calculi) can be extremely painful and are the result of minerals and salts forming inside the kidneys then binding together to form hard crystal-like stones. There are many types of kidney stones and, because they come in various sizes, may only be detectable by a CT scan.
Kidney stones are often the result of poor diet combined with excess body weight, prolonged exposure to extreme heat, and dehydration. Patients suffering from kidney stones are often encouraged to increase their water intake as a form of treatment. Increased hydration can help the stones pass more quickly.
Those who do not drink enough water are at higher risk of kidney stones. Staying hydrated is a great way to help prevent kidney stones.
3. Heat Injuries
Any medical professional will tell you that exercise is great for your mental and physical health. An active and healthy lifestyle helps your body fight diseases, keeps your heart healthy, and keeps your mind focused. Failure to drink enough water while vigorously exercising can cause everything from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and even heatstroke, which can be fatal.
4. Low Blood Volume Shock (Hypovolemic Shock)
When your body does not get enough water, it can cause low blood volume. Low blood volume can cause a drop in blood pressure and have an adverse effect on the amount of oxygen in your body. This life-threatening condition is the result of losing more than 20% of your body's blood or fluid supply.
If your heart does not have enough fluid, it cannot pump enough sufficient blood throughout the body. Left untreated, Hypovolemic shock can lead to organ failure.
Stay Hydrated, Stay Safe
In times of excessive exposure to the sun or rigorous exercise, a good rule-of-thumb is to drink fluids every 20 minutes. This may increase your urine output but will help to keep your body hydrated and functioning at its full potential. Another important time to stay hydrated is if you're sick and experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.