When you think of dehydration, you may think it to mean just being thirsty, but the consequences of not staying adequately hydrated can be very serious.
Dehydration is a condition that occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in, and it can have a more significant impact on your health than you might think. In this article, we’ll delve into the potential complications, shedding light on the importance of hydration
Potential Complications of Dehydration
1. Kidney stones
When you don’t drink enough water, your urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals and salts to crystallize and create stones in your kidneys. Kidney stones can be painful and may require medical intervention to remove or pass them.
If you’d love to get some insight into how well your kidneys are performing, order a kidney function test.
2. Urinary Tract Infections(UTIs)
Poor hydration can increase the risk of urinary tract infections(UTIs). Without enough fluid to flush out bacteria, pathogens can multiply in your urinary tract, leading to painful infections.
If you experience symptoms of a UTI, like a burning sensation when you pee, needing to pee too often, order a Peach kit to collect your samples at home and get tested now
3. Heat-Related Illnesses
Dehydration makes your body less able to regulate its temperature. This can result in heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke which can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly
Anyone who’s been constipated before knows it’s not a pleasant experience. Lack of hydration cause constipation because your body will start conserving water for essential functions. Bowel movements happen less often and stools become difficult to pass
5. Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Dehydration reduces your blood volume, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure. This can cause dizziness, fainting, and a general feeling of weakness.
If you haven’t gotten your blood pressure and other vitals checked recently
6. Impaired Cognitive Function
When you’re dehydrated, it can become difficult to concentrate, think clearly and even make decisions. You may also notice mood swings and increased irritability.
7. Skin Problems
The phrase “drink water for clear skin” isn’t unfounded. Insufficient hydration can result in dry, flaky skin and aggravate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
8. Complications for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are more susceptible to dehydration, which can lead to complications such as preterm labour and low amniotic fluid levels.
How much water should you drink daily?
Although the general rule is about 3.7 liters for men and about 2.7 litres for women, the ideal amount of water you should consume can vary based on several factors.
If you want to get more specific about your daily water intake, these are some factors you can consider:
1. Your Body Weight
A rule of thumb is to drink half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 to 150 ounces of water daily. One glass of water usually contains about 8 ounces, so if you weigh 150 pounds (about 68kg) for example, you can aim for 9 glasses of water.
2. Activity Level
Physical activity increases your body’s water requirements. If you’re an athlete, a gym goer or just generally very physically active, you’ll need to drink enough water to replenish the fluids lost through sweat.
3. The Climate
Hot weather in Nigeria especially can lead to increased sweating, and it becomes necessary to up your water intake to prevent dehydration.
4. Individual Needs
Everyone’s body is unique, and factors like age, metabolism, and overall health can determine your daily water requirements. Pay attention to your body’s signals for thirst and adjust accordingly.
5. Special Circumstances
Certain situations, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding, or maybe even medication may require higher water intake. Consult with a healthcare provider for specific recommendations during these times.
Many people tend to forget to drink water on busy days and that makes them prone to dehydration. If you fall under this category, try to establish a hydration routine. Set alarms to remind yourself to drink water at specific times, carry water around in reusable bottles and always keep them in your line of sight to stay conscious.
Include foods that have high water content in your diet like watermelons, oranges and cucumber to help you stay hydrated as well.
By making a conscious effort to stay hydrated, you can avoid these issues and enjoy the many benefits of proper hydration. Remember, water is not just a beverage; it’s the elixir of life that keeps your body functioning optimally. So, raise a glass to good health and drink up!