The newsLINK Group - Preventing Dehydration

Editorial Library Category: Health Topics: Dehydration Title: Preventing Dehydration Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Everybody needs water. It’s even more important to your well-being than food. Although experts say you can live a month without food, you can only live a week or two without water. Editorial: Preventing Dehydration 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Everybody needs water. It’s even more important to your well-being than food. Although experts say you can live a month without food, you can only live a week or two without water. That is probably connected to the fact that more than 60 percent of your body consists of water. As Dr. Roberta Lee put it in an online article by John Erickson on the Medical Daily website in 2013, people need water the way machines need oil. What are the approximate percentages for different parts of your body? Body Part Percentage Blood 92 Bones 22 Brain 85 Muscles 75 What does your body do with its water? A fluid sack cushions the brain so it won’t bump against the skull. Water helps the body absorb and digest nutrients and vitamins. Water also keeps the digestive system working correctly, detoxifies organs such as the kidneys and liver, and helps get waste out of the body. Most people, when asked, think they get plenty of water. They are often wrong. Dehydration is easy to overlook or to mistake for hunger. Research suggests that 75 percent of the U.S. population suffers from chronic dehydration. Part of that is caused by drinking the wrong things. Water is always a good choice, but some people find it too bland or just don’t have enough of it around, so they choose something else instead. Alcohol, drinks that have caffeine in them, and sports drinks are all mildly dehydrating. Sometimes people don’t understand what their bodies are telling them. Thirst can masquerade as hunger (in part because your body knows food often has water content in it). Sometimes, when people feel hungry, they are actually thirsty and just don’t realize it. If they then choose to eat foods without a lot of water in them, such as crackers instead of fruits or broth-based soups, they don’t improve the situation much. How can you tell whether you are dehydrated? Dark urine is one good sign. Someone who has plenty of water will have urine the color of straw. Another way to check for dehydration is to do a simple skin test. Use two fingers to pull a roll of skin on the back of your hand (a good spot to choose is the area between your wrist and your fingers). Gently pinch the skin a little— about a quarter inch or so — and then release it. If the skin needs more than a couple of seconds to go back into its normal position then you might be dehydrated. Other possible signs of dehydration include constant hunger, crankiness, fainting, fatigue or sluggishness, headaches, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, hunger, kidney stones and kidney disease, muscle cramps, respiratory and circulatory problems, ulcers, and weakness. Finally, a dry mouth and swollen tongue, a dry cough, flushed skin, heat intolerance, confusion, and feeling lightheaded are additional indicators of dehydration. Dehydration may not seem like a serious medical problem, but it can kill you if it is left untreated. Severe dehydration can occur when you’ve lost 9 to 12 percent of the water in your body, and it can cause brain swelling, coma, kidney failure, and seizures. It’s normal for you to lose a little water every day. Breathing, sweating, crying, and urination all contribute to a loss of fluid. In most cases, drinking water or eating water-rich foods are enough to replace what was lost. However, there are also times when recovering fluid becomes more difficult and may result in a more serious problem: Fevers cause your metabolism to increase as your temperature increases. That means your body needs more water and oxygen to compensate. Viruses are notorious for causing dehydration. Colds