A Quick Glance At Dehydration

Posted: 20th March 2019

Let us talk about something which we experience daily; Dehydration. As you have noticed, the sun seems to have moved a few kilometers towards our hemisphere; that is why I keep joking with my buddies that the sun has moved to the first floor. With this regard, for proper body function, we ought to stay […]

Let us talk about something which we experience daily; Dehydration.

As you have noticed, the sun seems to have moved a few kilometers towards our hemisphere; that is why I keep joking with my buddies that the sun has moved to the first floor.

With this regard, for proper body function, we ought to stay cool and healthy through hydration or else we might end up dehydrated.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration can simply be explained as a situation where the water you take in, does not equal your output. It usually manifests in form of thirst, where your body fluids are depleted below its needs. This can be due to exposure to extreme temperatures, strenuous exercise or even poor nutrition.

Key to note is that, dehydration is mostly experienced by people of extreme age groups i.e. Infants and the elderly adults.

How does it present itself?

As earlier stated, dehydration empirically manifests through thirst. Other signs include:

  • Dry mucus membranes e.g. mouth and nose
  • Headache
  • Decreased urine output (mostly concentrated)
  • Dry skin
  • General body fatigue
  • Blood pressure changes
  • In extreme cases, decreased coordination or mental instability

So, how do we counter it?

Research indicates that the average person loses about 3-4 litres of fluid each and every day from perspiration (sweating), respiration (breathing), digestion and other bodily functions. And what is lost must be replaced by what we drink and eat.

Since childhood, we have always been told to take six glasses of water every day but frankly, this may not be enough after all.

Studies further indicate that you should try to drink between half a glass to a full glass of water for each 2.2 kilogram you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 68 kgs, that would be 2.2ltrs (about 9 glasses) to 4.4ltrs (about 18 glasses) of water a day. Individuals living in a hot climate or are regularly engaged in exercises, would be expected to be on the higher end of this range unlike those in cooler climate or sedentary who would require less.

All this does not come from plain water; water flavoured with fruits or vegetables e.g. lemon, oranges, melon, cucumber slices, tea etc. can suffice.

To achieve this intake, here are some tips;

  • Start your day by reaching for a glass of water when you wake up. This rehydrates your body from water expelled from breathing through the night thus helps activate internal organs.
  • Keep your favourite bottle by your side at all times and carry it with you everywhere, be it the gym, to your car and to your office. The point is not to wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink water before and after meals. The stomach depends on water to help digest food, and lack of water makes it harder for nutrients to be broken down. The liver, which dictates where all nutrients go, also needs water to help convert stored fat into usable energy. If you are dehydrated, the kidneys turn to the liver for backup, diminishing the liver’s ability to metabolize stored fat. The resulting reduced blood volume will interfere with your body’s ability to remove toxins and supply your cells with adequate nutrients.
  • Drink a glass of water before bed, experts say that this helps prevents stroke and heart attack.
  • Avoid excessive intake of carbonated drinks, alcohol and caffeinated beverages to provide your fluid needs, as they can have a dehydrating effect.

Parting Shot

With water, we thrive. Without water, there is no life. We must learn to value, conserve, and take care of the water we have.

Article By: George Onassis -Senior Health Branch Officer GA insurance Ltd Kisumu