Dehydration is when you lose water from your body in excess than what you take in. Once your body gets dehydrated, it is difficult for you to do your routine works as your body will not be in a state to maintain a steady temperature and fluids balance. Your sweat, tears, breathing cause water loss from your body as well. Let’s understand how dehydration affects your health.

How Lack of Water Affects You?

Water loss from your body affects you in many ways ranging from an increase in body temperature to making you feel weak and lethargic. As the bulk of your body weight corresponds to the amount of water that you have in your body – therefore, even mild dehydration can make you feel lethargic, ill, defocussed, tired, fatigued. It also affects your concentration, mood and state of well-being. Severe dehydration can give you headaches.

Is Thirst a Sign of Dehydration?

Thirst is the first sign that you are dehydrated, but you should not panic. As soon as you get the urge to have water, just go for it and drink. In other words, when you feel the urge to have water owing to your thirst, you are a little bit dehydrated. Therefore, whenever you feel thirsty, if you pay attention to your thirst immediately and quench it, you are safe or else you might become a victim of dehydration. Different people have different lag periods – especially the older ones have a bit longer lag. Irrespective of your age and case, you should make a habit of drinking water regularly to avoid dehydration.

Who’s It Likely to Happen To?

Dehydration, if not addressed in time, can cause severe health concerns. Small children and elderly people are more likely to get dehydrated than young adults. Small kids are especially prone owing to their small body size. As far as elderly people are concerned, they need to be on the lookout as their sense of thirst gets duller as they age. Similarly, breastfeeding and pregnant women get dehydrated quite rapidly than others, therefore, they must drink more water and fluids than usual. Some health conditions like kidney disease and bladder infections can also cause dehydration.

Symptoms in Young Children 

It is quite difficult to understand dehydration in very young children as they are very small to tell about any symptoms that they are experiencing. However, there are some apparent symptoms to look out for in those children including absence of tears while crying, dry skin, no wet diapers for more than 3 hours, dry tongue and more fussiness than normal. In some very severe cases of dehydration in children, sunken cheeks, deep eyes and dry mouth are the other potential signs. They also have dramatic variations in their pulse rate, heartbeats and breathing pattern.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults and Kids

The symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, stickiness in the mouth, feeling thirsty, lack of urination, less urine formation, dark or strong urine, urine with a strong smell, light-headedness’, dizziness, feeling like pass out. When the dehydration gets worst your thirst shoots up. The heart rate and breathing may be faster than normal, body temperature increases and the person may feel cranky and confused.

How much water do you need to drink per day to prevent dehydration?

There is no rule behind it, but you should drink enough water. However, as a rough guide, you can set whatever parameter you like based on your nature of work, activity levels and lifestyle. In general, the amount of water you need to drink depends on how active you are, where you live, and your overall health.

If you are still unsure about the amount of water you are drinking is enough or not, then check the colour of your urine. If the colour is pale and the urine is clear, then you are drinking enough. If it is darker, then it means you are not drinking enough water. In some cases, the colour of your urine can not be taken as a measure to know the amount of water you are drinking is enough. For instance, infections, medicines and some types of foods can also change the colour of your urine.