Effects of Not Drinking Enough Fluids
Summer weather with high temperatures can easily lead to dehydration. Emergency physician Dr. Baruch Fertel of the Cleveland Clinic in the United States explains what dehydration is, how it develops and how to prevent it.
The human body is largely made up of water. Dehydration is a lack of water in the body. As a result, the body is no longer able to perform the necessary functions, reports the expert in a current press release.
What are the functions of water in the body?
Water aids digestion, lubricates joints, creates saliva, carries oxygen throughout the body, regulates body temperature and balances the elements of the body, Dr. Fertel explains.
Therefore, it is important to drink enough water and watch out for any signs of insufficient fluid intake.
How to recognize dehydration?
"If you notice that you haven't urinated for a few hours, or if your urine is very dark and very concentrated, it could be a sign that you are not drinking enough," says Dr. Fertel.
Signs that you might be dehydrated include:Decreased urination, concentrated dark colored urine, headache, nausea, muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation.
Dehydration can lead to heat stroke
The expert also warns that dehydration can trigger what is called heat exhaustion, which causes your body temperature to rise. It can slow down certain metabolic processes in the body.
In such a case, to avoid the threat of heatstroke, you should avoid the heat, get out of the sun, and drink more fluids, advises Dr. Fertel. Heatstroke should not be underestimated, as it can take life-threatening forms.
Dehydration despite high water intake
Various factors can contribute to feeling dehydrated when you think you're drinking enough water. First, you may still be drinking too little water, despite sticking to the common recommendations.
For example, according to the Federal Nutrition Center, adults should drink at least 1.3 to 1.5 liters a day.
According to Dr. However, Fertel is designed for a normal average weight person in a normal situation. How much water you actually need depends on your personal situation and how much energy you use.
It plays a role, for example, how much you move, how much you sweat and how much fruit and vegetables you eat during the day. "A general rule is to drink when you're thirsty," he said.
Certain groups of people often drink too little
Certain groups of people, according to Dr. Fertel have problems with adequate fluid intake. For example, the elderly, young children, or those whose thirst mechanisms may be impaired should be encouraged to drink as appropriate.
The body needs electrolytes
Drinking enough water is important for the body, but at the same time electrolytes such as sodium chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium are also essential. These can be effectively obtained from fruits and vegetables.
"Water contains hydrogen and oxygen, but not the electrolytes we need for our bodies," explains Dr. Fertel.
Bananas and apples are rich in electrolytes
Eating foods like bananas and apples not only helps keep you hydrated, but also provides electrolytes that help regulate nerve and muscle function, blood flow, and brain function.
Electrolytes also help regulate the amount of water left in the body's cells, the doctor adds. The loss of electrolytes caused by sweating can be compensated, for example, with special sports drinks or other rehydration solutions.
High water intake can promote electrolyte loss
Drinking large amounts of water can sometimes do more harm to the body than good. Because if the system is overloaded with water, it only excretes the excess water in the body through the urine, leading to the loss of important electrolytes, explains the expert.
Therefore, it should be ensured that you drink enough fluids throughout the day, adds the doctor.
Sweating for any reason is associated with loss of fluids and electrolytes. If it is not balanced, dehydration can occur.
“Remember that we can lose fluids through sweating and breathing, so it is important that we drink enough fluids,” says the expert.
Diuretic effect of drinks
Some drinks can have a diuretic effect. This leads to the need to urinate more, with a corresponding negative effect on electrolytes. The doctor cites coffee, caffeinated lemonade, and alcohol as examples.
dehydration due to illness
Vomiting, sweating and diarrhea during illness can also lead to fluid loss, which then causes dehydration, the doctor explains. Here, tea or chicken broth can be used to compensate for the loss of fluids. Chicken soup also contains salt, which helps retain water in the body.
Dehydration due to medication
Some drugs can promote dehydration in the human body. Diuretics, laxatives and blood pressure medications can remove water and electrolytes from the body, the doctor explains.
The expert advises consulting a doctor if dehydration is listed as a side effect of medication. If you have heart failure or problems with water retention in your tissues, you should consult your doctor for optimal fluid intake, says Dr. Fertel.
dehydration and diabetes
Having to urinate frequently and being thirsty could be an early sign of diabetes, according to the doctor. In such a case, frequent urination is the body's response to break down the sugar.
The problem with this is that this increased urination can lead to dehydration. A sweet smell in the urine and weight loss may occur. "You may also have a metallic taste in your mouth and a sweet, fruity, or nail polish remover-like smell," says Dr. Fertel.
How to avoid dehydration?
Adequate fluid intake throughout the day helps prevent dehydration. The expert also has some tips on how to stay hydrated.
Monitor fluid intake
First, it's a good idea to establish your own baseline amount of water you drink per day and then work your way up from there.
If you use an app to monitor your water intake, it usually has a reminder feature that can alert you when it's time to drink something again. However, the alarm clock can also simply be set to regularly remind you to drink fluids.
Drink a glass of water before meals
Drinking a glass of water before each meal can increase your daily water intake. Another benefit is that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less, as thirst is often mistaken for hunger, the doctor explains.
Add flavor to water
For example, if the taste of water is too boring for you, fresh fruit can be added to improve the taste. Additionally, carbonated flavored water or additives in powder or liquid form can add flavor to the water. However, added sugar and artificial sweeteners should be avoided.
Consuming foods with high water content
The liquid can also be obtained from the grocery store. Fruits and vegetables known for their high water content, such as lettuce, watermelon, and celery, are good for this.
Never neglect electrolytes
The expert advises consuming liquids containing electrolytes such as cucumber juice, sports drinks or chicken soup, especially if you play sports in hot weather or sweat a lot in general.
Differences in the severity of dehydration
The degree of dehydration can range from mild to severe, and drinking water in a mild case, according to Dr. Fertel, reduces symptoms of dehydration within five to ten minutes.
However, if moderate or severe dehydration is present, medical attention should be sought immediately. Intravenous fluids will help replenish fluids while other tests are done. (as)
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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.