Water plays an essential role in every one of your body’s functions and when your body is lacking adequate water, the signs are obvious. In fact, water actually accounts for as much as two-thirds of your body weight. While most people rarely think about it, enjoying a glass of water helps your body to regulate its temperature, digest food and lubricate your eyes, skin and joints.
Unfortunately, most people do not drink enough water, and it is important to note that certain beverages do not add to your water intake. Caffeinated beverages and any drink containing alcohol will actually have a diuretic effect and can cause dehydration.
In addition to poor fluid intake, your body becomes at risk for dehydration when you are exposed to extreme temperatures or physical activity. You may also become dehydrated due to fluid loss such as occurs during vomiting and diarrhea. Those with diabetes and other conditions that cause frequent urination are also at greater risk for dehydration.
Although dehydration can lead to severe health problems that range from blood clots to seizures, your body will usually send milder signs during the early stages that can prevent fatal complications if you take action. As you continue to embrace a healthy lifestyle, keep these symptoms in mind since they likely mean that you need to rehydrate.
Here are 7 Signs Your Body is Lacking Water:
1. Headaches and Lightheadedness
When most people suffer a headache, they reach for their preferred pain reliever. However, many of the worst headaches can be resolved by simply drinking a glass of water.
Dehydration headaches occur when a drop in your body’s water levels leads to a reduced amount of fluid surrounding your brain, which means that small movements and bumps can generate pain.
Further complicating the issue, the lack of water reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood that flows to your brain. For this reason, you should consider a lack of water to be the possible culprit behind any prolonged headache.
2. Bad Breath
You can brush your teeth as much as you want, but a lack of water leads to a reduced production of saliva that is the perfect breeding ground for bad-breath causing bacteria. When this occurs, you may also notice that you have dry mouth, and it may be made worse when you use mouthwash that contains alcohol.
3. Skin Changes
People often associate dehydration with sweaty skin since it tends to happen after strenuous activity. However, going without enough water for prolonged periods of time will lead to dry, tight skin that is more prone to injury.
Interestingly, you can do a quick skin test for dehydration by pinching a small amount on the back of your hand. Pull it up slightly, and let it go. Hydrated skin should go back to its place quickly, while dehydrated skin will take longer to bounce back. Flushing and flakiness are additional skin changes you may notice when you are dehydrated.
4. Muscle Cramps
Feeling pain in your muscles may not just be from that strength-building workout. Reduced fluid in your body can cause an electrolyte imbalance that leads to cramping pain. If the fluid around your joints is low, then you may also find the pain extends to your knees, wrists and elbows as well.
5. Food Cravings
Do you get the post-workout need to munch on something sweet or salty? If so, it may not be from the calorie burn. When your body is dehydrated, it can trigger cravings to replace the minerals lost through inadequate water intake. The key to managing this symptom is to know which ones you need.
If you are craving something salty, mix up a homemade sports drink by adding a teaspoon of salt to some lemon water since your body is likely in need of sodium. For sugar cravings, opt for fruit with high water content such as watermelon or papaya.
6. Changes in Urination
Sure, checking your urine is probably low on your list of enjoyable things to do, but taking a quick glance in the toilet can yield serious insight into how well you are hydrated.
For the most part, normal urine will be clear with a slight tinge of yellow, but it will grow progressively darker as you become dehydrated. By the time that it is an orange hue, or you not urinating at all, you have reached the point of serious dehydration.
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7. Foggy Thinking
The average human brain is made up of about 90% water, which means that dehydration can significantly impair your thinking. When you are dehydrated, you may feel confused, forgetful and unfocused.
Mood changes such as anxiety and irritability can also be blamed on a lack of water. Therefore, it may be necessary to consider your water intake the next time you feel a bad mood coming on. It may not just be stress, since it could be dehydration rearing its ugly head.