Dehydration happens when your body doesn't receive sufficient water. The symptoms of dehydration range from mild to severe with some instances resulting in blood clots, seizures, and other grave complications. The signs of dehydration oftentimes go beyond the usual thirst and fatigue. Here are the eight symptoms of dehydration that go unnoticed.
Dry skin is a visible sign of dehydration. Without water, your skin cells cannot renew itself and can give you a flushed and sullen appearance. Essentially, your skin loses its elasticity when you're dehydrated. Specifically, your skin will remain "tented" if it is pinched and will take some time to return to its flat state.
Believe it or not but saliva has antibacterial properties and dehydration can stunt your body's ability to produce enough saliva. Lack of saliva can cause a bacteria overgrowth in your mouth which results in bad breath.
Dehydration is usually the cause of muscle cramps, mainly if you play sports or exercise in hot weather. Muscle cramps are due in part to the loss of sodium and electrolytes through sweat. Even in colder environments, muscle cramps are possible when you don't consume enough water while working out.
Water is essential for the proper functioning of your organs. For example, without water, it can be difficult for your liver to release glycogen and other energy stores. As a result, you get cravings for food. Although you can crave salty snacks and food, sweet cravings are more common given your body cannot properly break down glycogen and release glucose into your bloodstream to use for energy. Because of this, you may feel thirsty as your body often confuse thirst with hunger. Therefore, you may feel hungry when your body is craving water. Conversely, dehydration can also cause a reduced appetite. Mild dehydration can cause nausea and malaise which can make you not want to eat.
Chills are another severe symptoms of dehydration. When you are dehydrated your body limits blood flow to your skin. Along with this, water hold heat and without it can be difficult to regulate your body temperature.
If you find yourself more forgetful and confused than usual, dehydration could be to blame. Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure levels, which causes less oxygen and blood to flow to the brain.
Speaking of brain, another telltale sign of dehydration is an excruciating headache. When your body is dehydrated, the brain temporarily shrinks from fluid loss; this causes the brain to pull away from the skull resulting in pain. An easy way to relieve this a dehydration headache, other than over the counter painkillers, is by drinking a full glass of water.
An obvious sign of dehydration is a decreased urine output. The reason for this doesn't need much explanation if not much water goes in, not much comes out. Another indicator of dehydration is your urine color. If you are well hydrated, your urine will be clear or a light yellow color. Darker urine usually signifies that you are dehydrated.
Contrary to the belief, 8 glasses of water a day is not the standard amount of water you should be drinking. Your daily water intake depends on a multitude of factors, but in general, it is recommended by the Institute of Medicine that men get 3.7 liters of water a day and women 2.7 liters of water a day. That total includes both food and liquid. Here are some of the ways you can meet your daily water requirement.
Did you know that eating fruit and veggies can contribute to your daily water intake? Precisely, produce with a high water content are not only nutritious and full of fiber but they are hydrating as well. Some of these fruits and vegetables include watermelon, cucumber, grapefruit, celery, and strawberries--just to name a few. You can even whip some of fruits and veggies into a smoothie. For a yummy and hydrating drink, try this recipe for a refreshing strawberry and watermelon smoothie. Also, you can toss a couple of fruit slices in your water to maximize the hydration.
By having a water bottle near you at all times it allows you to get into the habit of drinking more water--it will serve as a constant reminder. If you want, you can even invest in a high-tech water bottle, like the HidrateMe Smart Water Bottle, that counts the ounces that you drink and sends the information to your cell phone and reminds you to drink up.
Tea is probably the next best thing to water. It's high in antioxidants, that prevent free radical damage, and it is hydrating. To get the most benefits, stick to herbal, non-caffeinated teas, as tea with caffeine serve as a diuretic and can contribute to dehydration. Some of the best hydrating teas include strawberry leaf tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, and ginger tea.