The human body is made of mostly water – nearly eighty percent by all accounts. As you can imagine, this is part of the reason why drinking water and staying properly hydrated is so important. There is plenty of talk about the benefits of drinking water and the benefits of being hydrated. However, what you do not hear much talk about is what happens if you don’t drink enough water. That is the topic of today’s article.
What Happens If You Don’t Stay Hydrated?
Most experts agree that, on average, a person should drink six to eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day or roughly 64 ounces. This could be more for very active people, such as athletes, marathon runners, or those that spend a lot of time in the gym. For the majority of people, though, eight glasses are the right amount, combined with water-rich foods like strawberries, watermelon, celery, and leafy greens.
Water comes in many forms as well – coffee, for instance, is primarily made up of H20 and, contrary to popular myths, actually helps keep you hydrated. Water in its pristine form – such as in bottled spring water – is arguably the best way to stay refreshed. By all means, it is better than so-called “hydrating” sports drinks, which are full of sodium, chemicals, and sugar.
If, for some reason, you are unable to stay hydrated, be forewarned that it can be very detrimental to your health. For starters, people that are dehydrated are more prone to having persistent headaches – that is, headaches that do not go away with medication or that last for an extended period of time. This is typically one of the first signs of dehydration and can be reversed by drinking more water.
Another sign of dehydration has to do with bowel function. If you find yourself having cramps or suffering from constipation, one likely cause is that you are not properly hydrated. Water receptors reside in the colon, and part of their job is to pull water from the body and use it to soften stool. When there is not enough water in your body, constipation can occur.
Ashy skin is another symptom of dehydration. If you are not drinking enough water, your skin (your body’s largest organ) will become dry, dull, and lose elasticity. Over time this can result in cracked skin and ulcers.
Not surprisingly, if you do not drink enough water, your mouth will suffer! Mucous membranes live in the mouth, and if you do not stay hydrated, you will notice a dry mouth and lack of saliva, which can, in turn, cause difficulty in swallowing and breathing.
Weight is also closely tied to proper hydration. If you are feeling hungry, next time, try drinking a glass of water and waiting for fifteen to twenty minutes. In all likelihood, you are not actually hungry, but rather, your body needs water, and you have confused the signal. Drinking water to squelch false hunger cues is a great way to cut back on excess calories and stay hydrated at the same time. Finally, fatigue is a very real, very common symptom for people who do not drink enough water. Energy levels tend to decline in people that are dehydrated, causing you to feel sleepy, weak, and even experience brain fog or the inability to think clearly. Drinking water can help you battle fatigue and make it through a midday slump.