Especially as summer approaches, it’s essential to be on the lookout for the common signs of dehydration (or what’s medically referred to as “volume depletion”):
• Dry mouth. The mouth may be first on the scene by becoming dry or sticky. Saliva is 99 percent water, after all.
• Lowered blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness. Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s actually about 83 percent water, and less water circulating around the body means less blood, too. This can lead to lowered blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, and even a rapid heartbeat as the heart needs to pump faster to make up for having less blood.
• Muscle fatigue. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75 percent water, so when the body’s short on water, muscles are more easily fatigued.
• Dry, cool skin. When the body’s dehydrated, it does what it can to hold onto to whatever fluid is left — even stealing water from Peter to pay Paul. The skin is the first place to be robbed of water, resulting in dry, cool skin.
• Thirst. Of course, but you should not wait for thirst to hit to drink water. Thirst hits after the body may have begun to experience other symptoms.
• Feeling lethargic and irritable.
• Lack of urine. When the body’s short on fluid, no wonder it doesn’t want to expel even more! If the yellow tide (too much?) stops for more than 12 hours (or there’s only a very small amount of dark yellow urine), something’s definitely wrong.
• Start the Day Topped-Off. Let drinking water be one of the first things you do when you wake up. Some people even sleep with 8-12 ounces on their nightstand for their morning quenching.
• How much you need depends on body weight and activity level. It used to be that 8-8 ounce glasses of water daily was the goal. Now the rule of thumb is to consume one half ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. Drink closer to the full ounce if your activity level is high. Yes, that’s a lot of water.
• Drink water throughout the day. Drinking 6 glasses all at once does not do it! This will also help to spread out the need to eliminate the water throughout the day.
• As with everything, start where you are. If you know that hydration is an issue for you, consider how much you consume daily now and add an additional glass 2 or 3 times daily and gradually increase it over time. You will feel better and that will motivate you!