Dehydration effects can range from mild to life threatening and dehydration affects numerous body systems. Water is an essential compound of our body, making up a large percentage of blood and lymphatic fluids. Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water, with an accompanying disruption of metabolic processes but it is a lot more than just not drinking enough water.
If the body does not receive a continuous, safe and reliable supply of water, essential systems throughout the body can become impaired and various conditions or diseases will appear. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated.
Long-term health conditions can develop and evolve if proper hydration is neglected. Unfortunately, lack of water can lead people into choosing more flavorful alternative such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks and sugar-laced replacements, but they become unknowingly further dehydrated.
Water makes about 60% of one’s body weight! Most people can tolerate a 3-4% decrease in body water without difficulty. If you lose 5-8% you will experience fatigue and dizziness, and over 10% decrease can cause physical and mental deterioration, along with severe thirst. Fatality occurs when there is a decrease more than 15-25% of the body water.
Research has found that dehydration has a negative effect on the human brain and can contribute do the development of depression. The lymphatic system is also affected, as dehydration inhibits its effectiveness and allows cellular waste products to linger in the body. Nerves suffer when a person is dehydrated and once a nerve dies, it will not regenerate back within the central nervous system. Headaches, diminished memory, a sensation of pain, fatigue, low energy, poor endurance and loss of muscle strength are also important symptoms of dehydration you should keep an eye out for.
Dehydration is obviously avoided by drinking sufficient water; adults require 2-3 L of fluid per day, including water content of food. Fruits and vegetables are full of water and tomatoes for example are 94% water. Maintaining proper electrolyte balance becomes an issue when a large amount of water is lost through perspiration and concurrently replaced by drinking.
The treatment for minor dehydration, which is considered the most effective, is drinking water and stopping fluid loss. Fluid loss can happen for a variety of reasons such as:
It is important to know that plain water restores only the volume of the blood plasma and inhibits the thirst mechanism before solute levels can be replenished. Solid foods can contribute to fluid loss from vomiting and diarrhea. In more severe cases, dehydrated patients are given the necessary water with a proper balance of replacement electrolytes through oral rehydration therapy or fluid replacement by intravenous therapy. The first one is the treatment of choice as it is less painful, less expensive and invasive and easier to provide. Water plays a significant role in the maintenance of health and prevention of disease, so make sure you always keep yourself hydrated. Contact us at 760.734.5787 for your water-related questions!
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