The human body needs water to function. Our body made up of about 70% of water so you can understand the importance of water for proper functioning of our body. That’s why it is recommended to drink at least 7-8 glass of water everyday. Enough water intake can prevent many diseases.
People (and animals) lose water every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale, and as water in our sweat, urine, and stool. Along with the water, we also lose small amounts of salts or electrolytes. Our bodies are constantly readjusting the balance between water (and salts or electrolytes) losses with fluid intake. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated.
Water is a critical element of the body, and keeping the body adequately hydrated is a must to allow the body to function. Up to 60% of the body’s weight is made up of water. Most of the water is found within the cells of the body (intracellular space). The rest is found in the extracellular space, which consists of the blood vessels (intravascular space) and the spaces between cells (interstitial space).
Our blood is also made from water. Water is also important for blood pressure patients. Newborn babies are about 78% water, a year-old baby is 65%, adult men are about 60% and adult women are about 55%. Your brain is made up of 73% water, and so is your heart. Your bones are 31% water, muscles and kidneys are 79% and your skin is 64%. A whopping 83% of water makes up your lungs.
Importance of water
- Shock absorber for brain
- In pregnancy it acts as shock absorber for foetus.
- Keep your body away from overheating
- It helps kidney to excrete out the waste material through sweat via skin pores. This sweating is an important process of our body.
- Aid digestion and get rid of waste.
- Work your joints. Water lubricates them.
- Make saliva (which you need to eat).
- Balance your body’s chemicals. Your brain needs it to create hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Deliver oxygen all over your body.
- Cushion your bones.
- Regulate your body temperature and maintain homeostasis.
What is dehydration
“Dehydration is a condition in which lack of water occurs in the body. The lack of water occurs when body loses too much fluids”
Dehydration is a condition that can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of individual cells and then out of the body than the amount of water that is taken in through drinking. Medically, dehydration usually means a person has lost enough fluid so that the body begins to lose its ability to function normally and then begins to produce symptoms related to the fluid loss. Although infants and children are at highest risk for dehydration, many adults and especially the elderly have significant risk factors.
Check: Home Remedy for Watery eyesStages of dehydration
Most doctors divide dehydration into following three stages;-
Mild and often even moderate dehydration can be reversed or put back in balance by oral intake of fluids that contain electrolytes (or salts) that are lost during activity. If unrecognized and untreated, some instances of moderate and severe dehydration can lead to death
Symptoms of dehydration
The body’s initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake and decreased urine output to try to conserve water loss. The urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color. The signs and symptoms of dehydration also may differ by age.
As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent. The following are further signs and symptoms of dehydration
In infants or young children
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for three hours
- Sunken eyes & cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on top of skull
- Listlessness or irritability
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
Causes of dehydration
Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don’t drink enough because you’re sick or busy, or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you’re traveling, hiking or camping.
There are following causes that are responsible for dehydration;-
Diarrhea is one of the prime reason of dehydration. There are two types of diarrhea;-
- Mild diarrhea
- Severe diarrhea
In mild diarrhea, there are not much loss of body fluids. It can be treated by normal medications.
In severe diarrhea, there is tremendous loss of water occurs as the excessive amount of vomiting and dysentery.
Exposure to sun for a prolong time
It commonly occurs in labours & others working people who have to expose to sun for a prolong time. Our body water vapourise when exposed to sun for a prolong time in the form of sweat and saliva.
During fever our homeostasis can not maintain. Homeostasis maintain our sweat and urine level. Thus it provides heating or cooling effect in our body according to the weather.
In fever sweating pattern disturbs and the loss of water occurs.
You lose water when you sweat. If you do vigorous activity and don’t replace fluids as you go along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.
Unstable urine pattern
There are some aliments such as;- urinary tract infection, kidney infection, cellulitis . These all disturb the pattern of urination. The unstable urine pattern imbalance the homeostasis of body, results excessive loss of water occurs.
Certain medications, such as diuretics and some blood pressure medications, also can lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate more.
Complications and risk factors
If dehydration left untreated, it can be fatal. I am going to discuss possible complications and risk factors that can be the result of untreated dehydration;-
There are following complications of dehydration;-
- Kidney failure:- Kidney failure is a common occurrence and often is reversible, if it is due to dehydration and is treated early. As dehydration progresses, the volume of fluid in the body decreases, and blood pressure may fall. This can decrease blood flow to vital organs including the kidneys, and like any organ with a decreased blood flow; it has the potential to fail to do its job.
- Coma:- Excessive loss of water can reduce the blood volume and blood supply to the organs. Low blood supply to the brain can cause the coma stage.
- Heat injury:- If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke
- Shock:- Shock is a critical condition brought on by the sudden drop in blood flow through the body. So in dehydration the blood volume and blood supply dropped and shock can be occurs. This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration.
- Electrolyte imbalance:- In dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities may occur since important chemicals (like sodium, potassium, and chloride) are lost from the body through sweat. Excessive loss of electrolyte can be result to death and seizure.
For example, patients with profuse diarrhea or vomiting may lose significant amounts of potassium, causing muscle weakness and heart rhythm disturbances.
There are following risk factors of dehydration;-
- Infants and children
- Older adults
- People with kidney problems
- People with chronic illness like;- diabetes, high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, diarrhea etc.
- People who expose to sun for prolong time.
Tips to prevent dehydration
There are following easy tips that can be effective to get rid of dehydration;-
- Drink plenty of water, as directed by your doctor.
- Eat foods with high amounts of water like fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid or limit drinks with caffeine like coffee, teas and soft drinks.
- Avoid or limit drinks with alcohol
- Identify and treat the dehydration in mild stage
- Drink ORS (oral rehydration solution) instead of water because ORS balance the electrolyte level in our body.
- Don’t get directly expose to sun.
Home remedies for dehydration
There are following home remedies that can be useful to treat the mild and moderate form of dehydration;-
It is considered as a great re-hydrating agent, along with being an analgesic and de-stressing herb. It also comes as a de-caffeinated tea option that further helps you keep hydrated by replacing the fluids lost due to dehydration.
How to use chamomile:- Take about two to three dried chamomile flowers (or tea) in a cup of hot water and let it soak for 10 minutes before straining it.
Dose:- Have at least 2-3 cups of chamomile tea daily.
It expel out the heat from the body.
How to use elderflower:- Take elderflowers and crush them in to fine powder.
Dose:- Take 1-2 teaspoons of this powder with water at least two times every day. You can also make a herbal tea and consume it daily.
It is useful in preventing dehydration. It is super rich in fiber that stimulates absorption of water in the body. It also cools down your body temperature in this heat.
How to use asparagus:- You can use asparagus in various salads and vegetables or consume in the form of tea, supplements, etc.
The inner bark of the willow tree is believed to have medicinal properties and is used to cure acute headaches caused by dehydration. It has cooling properties that help in keeping the body temperature low. It also helps reduce cramps in the stomach, pain and inflammation.
How to use Willow bark:- You can consume it in the form of tincture, herbal tea or even supplements.
Licorice or mulethi is a favoured herb in Indian households and is used in several ways. It helps in cooling your body temperature and prevents heat stroke, dehydration and fatigue.
How to use licorice:- It be consumed in the form of a decoction, further keeping the body cool and hydrated. Mulethi water can be consumed by soaking the roots in water for some time before straining it.
A glass of good old nimbu paani is probably one of the most hydrating drinks.
You must have lemon water daily made with the juice of two lemons and a pinch of rock salt. This keeps you hydrated and is also the best way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C.
Coconut water must be consumed 4 to 5 times a day as it is rich in sodium and potassium and thereby helps to compensate for the fluid loss as well. Coconut water is a powerhouse of electrolytes. Coconut water is, undoubtedly, the best hydrating drink. It is low in calories and rich in potassium and is known to have better hydrating qualities than plain water. It is also energizing in nature which makes it a healthier substitute for packaged sports or energy drinks.
It is known to contain 90% water and are one of the most hydrating vegetables. Vegetable juices are better for hydration than fruit juices because the natural sugars present in fruits may inhibit hydration. Moreover, fruit juices tend to have a concentrated form of sugar.
Buttermilk is rich in minerals and thus mixing dry ginger in a cup of buttermilk and consuming it at least 3 to 4 times a day can help combat dehydration.