Water is essential for the human body to function. The body cannot store water and must have fresh supplies every day to perform virtually every metabolic process.
Water is needed for most body functions, including to:
Maintain the health and integrity of every cell in the body
Keep the bloodstream liquid enough to flow through blood vessels
Help eliminate the by-product of the body’s metabolism, excess electrolytes (for example, sodium and potassium), and urea, which is a waste product formed through the processing of dietary protein
Regulate body temperature through sweating
Moisten mucous membranes such as those of the lungs and mouth
Lubricate and cushion joints
Reduce the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria
Aid digestion and prevent constipation
Moisterize the skin to maintain its texture and appearance
Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
Serve as a shock absorber inside the eyes, spinal cord and in the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in pregnancy.
Symptoms of dehydration
mood changes and slow responses
dry nasal passages
dry or cracked lips
Confusion and hallucinations.
Causes of dehydration
There are several factors that can cause dehydration including:
not drinking enough water
increased sweating due to hot weather, humidity, exercise or fever
insufficient signalling mechanisms in the elderly – sometimes, they do not feel thirsty even though they may be dehydrated
increased output of urine due to a hormone deficiency, diabetes, kidney disease or medications
diarrhoea or vomiting
How much water should I be drinking?
The amount of water an individual should consume will vary depending on a number of factors, such as their body size,physical activity level, and surrounding environment. If you look it up you will get many different recommendations. It is suggested that an individual should drink at least 8-10 8oz glasses of water as a general guideine. If you are going by body weight it is suggested as a general guideline that you should drink at least .5 to 1 ounce for each pound you weigh. For example an individual that weighs 150 should drink 75- 150 ounces or about 2-4 liters of water each day. I find the best way to gauge if I am drinking enough water is to look at the color of my urine. If my urine is dark in color that is an indication that I need to increase my water intake. It is important to note that some vitamins and minerals can change the color of your urine. Tips for increasing water intake
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to plain water to add variety.
Keep a bottle or glass of water handy on your desk or in your bag.
Add ice cubes made from fresh fruit to a glass of water.
Choose hydrating snacks such as watermelon, oranges pineapple, or cucumbers. These foods contain a high percentage of water.