Hydration is an essential part of everyday life. Without proper hydration, your body will not work properly, and in severe cases, you might even end up losing your life.
To avoid unfavorable health issues, you may want to find out the basics of hydration such as when to hydrate, how long it takes to rehydrate, and what happens to your body when you get over hydrated.
Being properly informed about these things will not only prevent you from suffering the unbearable symptoms of dehydration but may someday help you prevent serious, life-threatening illnesses.
What Happens When You Get Dehydrated
Whenever you don’t drink enough water, or when you drink alcohol, vomit, sweat, or suffer from diarrhea, your body runs out of essential fluid that it needs to function properly.
When dehydrated, you may feel minor symptoms such as headaches, cramps, or faint. During the early stages of dehydration, your body turns to the available fluids in your body and reabsorbs them in an attempt to power your organs.
Another effect of dehydration is that the production of blood in your body gets reduced, therefore leading to insufficient blood circulation in the body. When that happens, you will experience a variety of health problems including lowered blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness.
Once the time comes that there are no more fluids to absorb, your body will be severely dehydrated, and this is when you can end up going into shock, and eventually death.
Knowing When To Rehydrate
Keeping yourself hydrated isn’t that hard. There are a few things you can watch out for to avoid getting dehydrated. Here are some of them:
A Dry Mouth
One sign that your body shows you when you’re on the brink of dehydration is a parched mouth. Unlike a mouth that is well moisturized with saliva, a dry mouth can offer you noticeable discomfort. So once you feel the insides of your mouth getting all dry and sticky, you better start drinking at least a glass of water to rehydrate your body.
Your body’s muscles need a lot of water to function since they are 75% made out of water. Dehydration causes your muscles to become weak, therefore making you too lethargic to perform any activities.
The most common sign of dehydration has probably got to be thirst. It is an early sign of dehydration that signals you to start getting hydrated before things get more serious, unlike all other signs that come at the latter stages of dehydration.
Small Amounts Of Dark Urine
When your body is dehydrated, you get to excrete little to no urine with a dark amber color. Darker colored urine means you’re at a more severe stage of dehydration.
How Long Does It Take To Rehydrate
If you ever find yourself in a situation wherein your body is left to struggle with light to severe dehydration, don’t fret just yet. It'll only take a couple of minutes to get your body fully rehydrated once again. According to a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it only takes 600ml of water and about 45 minutes to turn a mildly to fully dehydrated body completely hydrated once again.
There’s also no need to drink enhanced liquids such as water with salt, ginseng root, or plain Gatorade to get your body completely hydrated. Plain old clean water will be enough. However, drinks like Gatorade that are full of electrolytes to work faster on replenishing the body.
What Happens When You Get Over-Hydrated
As the saying goes- too much of anything is bad for you. When taking in large amounts at a short period of time, water can cause you to have hyponatremia, which is also known as water intoxication. Though water intoxication rarely occurs, it is a serious issue that can easily become fatal.
When you drink too much water, you are ingesting more water than your body can throw out. When this happens, your body’s sodium levels drop, causing an imbalance that can lead to liquid moving into your blood cells. This can cause organs in your body, including your brain to swell.
Other Ways You Can Get Hydrated
Aside from drinking lots of water whenever signs of dehydration occur, you can always prevent dehydration from happening by doing the following:
Eat Food With High Water Content
Foods high in electrolytes, water, sodium, and potassium such as apples and bananas can make your body feel hydrated. Try eating a fruit or two with your meal to increase your water intake.
Choose Drinks With Electrolytes
Sports drinks like Gatorade are filled with electrolytes that help your body retain more water and restore fluid balance all throughout your body. If you are losing too much sweat from a strenuous workout, you may want to opt for a sports drink instead of water, especially if you plan on continuing your workout.
Avoiding Alcoholic And Caffeinated Beverages
One major cause of dehydration is the consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Drinking beers, liquors, and coffee can cause you to urinate more, making it harder for your body to retain essential fluids.
A Quick Recap
Keeping yourself hydrated is an important part of maintaining a well-functioning body. You can easily keep yourself hydrated by watching out for the different signs of dehydration, drinking lots of fluids, eating foods that are high in water content, or by choosing drinks that are filled with fast quenching electrolytes.