Are You Chronically Dehydrated?
Water is essential for good health. Especially when 75 percent of our body weight is water! It is said that on average, a person can survive about three weeks without food yet most cannot make it three days without water. Of course, this can vary from person to person depending on other factors. However, this proves the importance of water in our body for survival.
Dehydration is defined as the body’s reaction to a lack of water. Chronic dehydration, however, is more severe as this is when the body goes for longer periods of time without fluid and/or inability to retain water properly despite drinking enough through the day. There are various ways in which an individual can become chronically dehydrated and therefore causing harsh effects on the body.
In what ways can individuals become dehydrated?
Not drinking enough water.
Prolonged heat exposure.
Excess physical activity.
Having digestive conditions that cause diarrhea.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Taking medications such as diuretics.
Effects of chronic dehydration include:
Impaired physical performance as the body becomes weaker due to the lack of water
Mood changes and decreased alertness
Kidney failure and/or urinary tract infections due to the body’s inability to filter out waste from the body; formation of kidney stones
Heart problems (lessened blood volume puts more strain on the heart)
How can you avoid becoming chronically dehydrated?
Add electrolytes to your water that include sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Sports drinks are not a great choice as these tend to contain excess sugar and unnecessary additives.
Drink small amounts of water through the day (set up a timer for every hour if needed); you can also use a tracker to keep track of how much water you are consuming through the day and determine if you are getting enough.
If you suffer from digestive issues that affect your ability to retain water in the body, make sure to address the underlying issue.
Cut back on alcohol and caffeine as these tend to promote dehydration.
Include more fruits or veggies in your diet with a high water content such as cucumbers, cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon.
Have a hard time drinking water? Infuse your water with fruits to give it flavor.
Limit your time outside on hot days as well as excessive physical activity that makes you sweat too much.