The Dangers of Dehydration – Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Excessive heat and vague symptoms can cause dehydration to sneak up on you. A lot of people get dehydrated in the summertime because of the heat and humidity, or from extra activity and sweating, and they don’t increase their water intake! Dehydration occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in through drinking. The lost fluid impairs the body’s ability to function normally, causes imbalances in electrolytes and glucose levels, and triggers a variety of symptoms. Severe dehydration can lead to health complications and death.
Infants and children have the highest risk for dehydration, but adults, especially endurance athletes, outdoor workers, and the elderly, also can be impacted.
Warning Signs of Dehydration
- Always feeling thirsty
- Dizziness or feeling like you could pass out
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry mouth and skin
- Persistent headache
- Decreased urination or yellow, concentrated urine
- Fever over 101 degrees
- Feeling tired or lethargic
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
Dehydration is serious and can land you in the hospital. Most people recover quickly by drinking fluids that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates and upping their intake of water, but severe cases can require IV fluids and extra rest.
Be on the lookout for signs of dehydration in yourself and others, especially infants, the elderly, and high school athletes who have started practicing for fall sports! Encourage athletes and outdoor workers to replace fluids and drink on a regular basis. Beat the heat by carrying a reusable water bottle with you or low-calorie sports drink and replenish fluids throughout the day.
There is some truth to the adage: Let thirst be your guide! The best prevention is to stay well-hydrated and pay attention to how much you are drinking, sweating, and urinating and how you feel.
Physical therapy encompasses injury rehabilitation, sports and performance medicine, nutrition, and total-body health and wellness. Nutrition, along with staying hydrated and drinking the right fluids, can affect your recovery and function.