Not many people know that by the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Although a lot of us laugh it off, dehydration can be extremely dangerous and can seriously affect the way that our bodies function.
Dehydration means that you’re losing more fluid than you’re taking in, meaning that everyday processes like digestion and brain function may start to suffer.
Here are five ways to know you’re dehydrated so that you can solve the problem before it gets dangerous.
The first way to know that you aren’t drinking enough water is when you start to get thirsty – you might have a dry mouth or a scratchy throat.
If you work at a job where you spend a lot of time talking, such in retail or customer service, you might notice that your mouth is getting dry and your throat is starting to hurt, so make sure that you keep a bottle of water with you at all times so that you can take sips regularly.
If you’re suffering from an illness like a stomach virus and it’s hard to stomach food and fluids, you may still be thirsty, so make sure that you drink small sips of water.
Ginger ale will help to settle your stomach as well as rehydrate you, and flat lemonade or Coke will add some much-needed sugar to your diet.
If you leave work at the end of the day with dry eyes, you might assume that it was because you were staring at a computer all day, that the lights in your office were too bright, or that you need to start going to bed earlier.
Although all those things may be true, another cause of dry eyes is dehydration. If you’re busy at work, you may find that you’re forgetting to drink enough fluids, meaning that your skin, eyes and lips may start to feel dry and peel, along with looking red and sore.
Invest in a refillable plastic or metal water bottle to keep by your side all day. If you don’t like the taste of water, why not add fresh fruits like peaches, lemons, limes or raspberries to it?
Let’s face it, nobody likes to talk about their bodily excretions, but the fact is that they can demonstrate a lot about your general health. When you don’t have enough water in your body, your kidneys retain as much of it as they can, meaning that your urine becomes darker in color, more concentrated, and stronger-smelling.
The lighter and more transparent your urine is, the more hydrated your body is. A lot of top athletes like to make sure that their urine is completely clear before important matches.
If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, this may be down to not drinking enough fluids, particularly if you feel that way after strenuous activities or exercise that have caused you to lose water through sweating, or if the weather is particularly warm.
If you feel that way, make sure that you rehydrate yourself quickly by drinking plenty of water or a sports drink.
Although there are numerous causes of headaches, including poor lighting, poor posture, stress, sickness and looking at screens all day, the truth is that dehydration is one of the top causes of that familiar ache.
If your body is lacking in fluids, your brain can temporarily shrink from water loss, meaning that it retracts from the skull, causing pain. This can put you in a bad mood and cause a lot of stress, but if you drink plenty of water then your symptoms should retreat.
It’s a lot easier to get dehydrated than you might have realized, but it’s also very easy to drink some water and make yourself feel great again. The best way to avoid dehydration is to ensure that you consume fluids every half-hour – that way you’ll be able to miss out on all of these unpleasant symptoms to live a healthier and more hydrated life.