A sufficient intake of water is vital for health, but developing countries often face a challenging lack of clean not drinking enough water. Even for those who have the luxury of clean water, dehydration can still cause many problems. People often forget to drink more water during weather changes, not realizing that dry air in the winter and hot temperatures in the summer lower the body’s ability to retain water. The next time you pass up a glass of water, consider these ten conditions caused by dehydration.
You may find it difficult to determine whether you need water without the feeling of thirst. Headaches, although painful, can be a blessing, as they are your body’s way of signaling dehydration. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids when a headache first occurs. As anyone who experiences migraines can tell you, headaches must be dealt with right away if their severity and duration are to be limited.
2. Glycogen production
Glycogen is a type of sugar that the body stores for energy. When you do not drinking enough water, this can inhibit organ functionality, as the liver uses water to release glycogen. When the liver cannot provide as much energy, the body will look for ways to find fuel. This is why hunger is a common symptom of dehydration, even when you’re craving salty snacks. Salt often increases thirst, but the body is willing to try anything to compensate for lack of energy.
Oh, yes—a lack of water can actually cause bad breath! This can easily be rectified by a breath mint, but you shouldn’t ignore the body’s signal that something is wrong. Unfortunately, the people around you may become just aware of your need for water as you will.
4. Urine discoloration
If you are uncertain about whether your headache or other symptom is caused by a lack of water, look no further than the restroom. The color of your urine can indicate whether the body has had the proper intake of water. The more yellow it is, the more dehydrated you are.
5. Kidney failure
The kidneys also need water in order to function. The Mayo Clinic claims that potentially life-threatening kidney failure “occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from the blood.” Water flushes out the system, giving your body the extra ammunition it needs to remove waste and maintain a healthy internal environment.
6. Hypovolemic shock
Dehydration can cause this extremely severe condition, as the body fails to function when a lack of blood flows through the system. Many people may not notice, but sweating (the body’s natural way of cooling itself) also releases a great amount of water, which is why drinking water during exercise can be critically important.
7. Cerebral edema
The brain can actually swell due to a lack of moisture. This anomaly can occur when a dehydrated individual obtains water and ingests it too quickly. The body races to replenish water into cells, but some cells can actually rupture in the process. You can avoid this condition by drinking slowly once you have symptoms of dehydration.
8. Heat stroke
Heatstroke is not always limited to sweltering summer humid days—dehydration can cause heatstroke in cooler weather. Exercise and even the common cold can cause a greater need for water, so be sure to increase water intake whenever you increase your body’s activity.
Again, pay attention to what your body may be telling you. If you feel tried, first ask yourself whether your body needs more fuel (i.e. water or food). Most modern people find their lives highly scheduled and actively exhausting, leaving scarcely one free moment. Always make time to take care of your body.
10. Loss of consciousness
A loss of consciousness could be the body’s way of taking care of itself when faced with an utter lack of fuel. However, what if this loss of consciousness occurs in children? When children become ill, many cannot state exactly what they want or need. If you are the caretaker of a sick child, then be sure to evaluate the type of illness and determine whether the child is getting enough fluids. Although a sick child may moan and groan about drinking anything other than apple juice or Capri-Sun, water provides you with the healthiest and fastest way of avoiding complications of dehydration.