10 Ways Dehydration Is Making You Sick and Tired

10 Ways Dehydration Is Making You Sick and Tired

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A recent news story about an entire family who died of dehydration and hyperthermia brings home the significant dangers of dehydration. If your body lacks fluids, it can’t function properly. Here are ten ways dehydration can make you sick.

The Dangers of Dehydration

Humans can’t live long without water. No wonder. Your body is made of approximately 75% water. Doctors don’t fully understand the total impact of water on chronic diseases and disease prevention, but they know your body needs water to work properly. Hydration is important for things like

  • Aiding digestion
  • Forming salvia
  • Breaking down food
  • Moistening your mucous membranes
  • Regulate your body’s temperature
  • Lubricate your joints and spinal cord
  • Keeping the proper pH balance in your body
  • Helps your brain produce and use hormones
  • Removes toxins out of your cells
  • Helps deliver oxygen to your body
  • Eliminates waste products

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What causes dehydration?

Several things contribute things that contribute to dehydration, such as

  • Illnesses: You can get dehydrated from illnesses like gut upsets which cause diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Excessive sweating: Exercise, or doing heavy manual labor, can make you sweat and lose fluids.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic that reduces the fluids in your body so you get dehydrated.
  • Fever
  • Not drinking enough water

10 Ways Dehydration Makes You Sick

Here are the consequences of not receiving enough hydration.

1 – Reduced physical endurance

When you exercise, it’s important to maintain your hydration levels. If you aren’t drinking enough water,  you may experience reduced endurance, more fatigue, and feel less inclined to be psychically active. Drinking extra water helps eliminate these problems. If you live in a warmer climate, staying hydrated when you’re physically active is important. Exercising in a hot climate without drinking enough fluids can cause low blood pressure and reduced blood flow to your heart and muscles.

It can also cause hyperthermia. 

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Many people are familiar with hypothermia, but have never heard of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is when your body gets overheated due to hot weather and being overheated. It causes your body’s heat regulation system to malfunction. Confusion, vomiting, nausea, and rapid breathing are symptoms of hyperthermia.

2 – Poor brain function

Extreme dehydration affects your brain function. You may experience mood changes or a lower cognitive ability resulting in

  • Less ability to focus and concentrate
  • Less alert
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Lower perception

Milder dehydration won’t affect your brain function to this level, but in one study, when participants drank extra water, they felt more alert. Individuals who are dehydrated show more brain neuron activity when they’re doing a mental task, which means their brains need to work harder than usual to finish the task.

3 – Delirium

In older people and individuals who are extremely ill, dehydration can lead to delirium and dementia. Older people have a reduced thirst sensation and drink less water compared to younger people. Less fluid intake and the inability to maintain a proper water balance can contribute to this delirium. Other individuals who are at risk for dehydration resulting in delirium include people how have the following:

  • Had recent surgery
  • People with HIV
  • Cancer patients
  • People in the hospital

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4 – Skin damage

If you’re not getting enough fluids, the blood flow to your skin slows down, causing there to be a decrease in nutrients or oxygen. This affects the way your skin looks and feels. How do you know if your skin is dehydrated? Here’s a quick pinch test.

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Pinch a small bit of skin on your chest, back, or hand for a couple of seconds.

  1. If your skin snaps back after you stop pinching the skin, you’re not dehydrated.
  2. If your skin stays pinched, you are dehydrated.
  3. Try the pinch test on other bits of skin again if you want.

Hydration protects your skin. Maintain your fluid levels by doing these things:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day
  • Drink juices, milk, or herbal teas
  • Eat broths and soups
  • Fluid-filled fruits and vegetables like melons, strawberries, and lettuce
  • Sip healthy green smoothies

5 – Heart attack

Dehydration affects your blood pressure, blood volume, and heart rate. It causes strain on your heart because you have less blood circulating through your body. Your heart beats faster to compensate and you feel heart palpitations. Dehydration thickens your blood and makes your blood vessel walls constrict. This may lead to hypertension and high blood pressure. There will be a buildup of plaque in your arteries which can lead to a heart attack. Thicker blood can also cause you to have blood clots or a stroke.

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6 – Joint soreness

If your body lacks fluids, it increases your joint and muscle pain. Hydration of your body keeps the cartilage in your joints pliable and soft. Dehydration pulls fluid out of your muscle tissues, causing you to feel achy and in pain. Increasing how much water you drink can reduce your pain levels and help your joints feel more flexible.

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