We’ve all heard that it is important to stay hydrated, but why? Water is critical for every cell in our bodies, so if you aren’t getting enough, it can affect how well your body functions. Dehydration can cause mental symptoms such as fatigue and anxiety; and physical symptoms like nausea and loss of coordination. Dehydration can also negatively influence blood pressure and blood volume, cholesterol, body pH, electrolyte levels, body temperature regulation and can even increase your risk of urinary/bladder infections. It has also been linked with obesity, since many people confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger.
Signs and symptoms for dehydration can be difficult to spot. Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth and reduced urination. Since the symptoms are difficult to distinguish, preventing dehydration in the first place is the best plan of action. Keep in mind that if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated! The general rule of thumb is to have about 8 cups of water (8 oz. each), but this varies from person to person. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, exercising (especially on those hot days!), or have a fever you may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking. Also, some prescription medications require more water intake, so talk to your doctor to find out if this is the case with any of your medications. Here are some tips for staying hydrated:
- Drink water before meals. This can help prevent overeating, too!
- Keep water handy while at work and at play. Having water with you at all times can be a helpful reminder to drink up.
- Limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Both of these can actually cause dehydration.
- Brighten up your water with lemon, orange or cucumbers. It adds flavor and adds antioxidants.
- Track your water intake. Keeping a simple tally can keep you on track.
For more information please reference http://dehyration.net