What is Dehydration?
Dehydration refers to when the body has less water than it needs to function optimally. This can occur when the body is losing water faster than you are drinking it. Water must be replaced daily because the body is unable to store it. A 2% decrease in the fluid levels in your body is enough to result in physical, visual or cognitive changes.
What does the body use water for?
Our body weight is approximately 50% water. Water is very important for the proper functioning of our body systems. Examples include:
- Body temperature regulation
- Lubrication of joints
- Respiration (breathing)
- Nutrient distribution
What are the consequences of dehydration?
Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte disorder in all elderly adults populations and hospitalization costs for dehydrated patients are more than $1 Billion per year in the United
States. Prolonged dehydration can lead to:
- Muscle spasm
- Kidney dysfunction
Dehydration is most commonly caused by taking medications such as diuretics, laxatives and sedatives, and drinking alcohol or caffeine. Remember, if you are not replacing the fluid you are losing, you may end up dehydrated.
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dry, sticky mouth and tongue
- Lightheaded or dizzy
- Weakness and headache
- Confused or irritable
- Lack of sweating
- Dark yellow urine
- Decreased urine output
- Blood pressure lower than
- Increased heart rate
- Fainting or unconsciousness
- Onset of fever
Ways to Drink More Water and Stay Hydrated
- Drink from a fun straw
- Carry a water bottle with you
- Add lemon, lime, orange or favorite
- Set an alarm to remind you when to
drink more fluids
- Have a glass of water before and after each meal
A good rule of thumb to follow: If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Try to drink water throughout the day, even if you aren’t feeling thirsty.