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Know the Signs of Chronic Dehydration and How to Prevent it This Summer

150721_dehydrationHave you ever felt sluggish, weak, or dizzy in the middle of the day despite getting adequate sleep and even drinking a few cups of coffee? Chances are you’re suffering from chronic dehydration—when you lose more fluid than is consumed. Many people believe that they are drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day, however according to DripDrop.com, an average of 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. With the heat of summertime approaching, the amount of water we consume is even more necessary to prevent dehydration.

Our bodies are made of 60% water so it’s safe to say that water is an integral part of our system and is necessary to function adequately. The MayoClinic states there are eight main functions of water in our body, including carrying essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to cells; removing toxins and waste products; metabolizing food we consume; regulating body temperature; and acting as a lubricant for joints.

When an inadequate amount of water is consumed, the body is unable to effectively carry out these functions. This can cause an array of symptoms including dizziness, weakness, mental fog, headache and fever, changes in mood, dry skin, and excessive thirst. Another common symptom is confusing thirst with hunger. Your organs use water to release glycogens and other nutrients, but when there isn’t enough water in your body, they are unable to effectively produce and release these nutrients. If you have cravings for a sweet snack, instead of reaching for junk food you should look for a snack that has high water content, such as fruits or vegetables. Cucumbers, carrots, berries, celery, and of course, watermelon, are all great options to choose from.

How can you tell if these are symptoms of dehydration or something more? There are two quick tests that you can do to see if you are dehydrated. First is to check your urine. If you are properly hydrated, your urine will be mostly clear. Be wary of yellow or darker yellow, as that means your body is more than 3% dehydrated. Another way to see if you are dehydrated is to do a skin test. Pull the skin on the back of your hand with your index finger and thumb about a centimeter high and let go. If the skin pulls back immediately or within a couple seconds, you are properly hydrated. If it takes a bit longer, you may be dehydrated.

Other ways to determine if you are dehydrated are utilizing newer products on the market specifically designed to ensure proper hydration. There has been a progression of products that not only help you to input and track your water consumption, but also alert you if you have not met your daily goal. Waterlogged, one of the more popular water-tracking apps, allows you to do just that. It also offers a way for you to sync up with other fitness apps so that you can even more accurately track water loss and consumption.

There are also new “smart” water bottles which track consumption as you drink, so you don’t need to worry about inputting data. One of the original smart water bottles is the Hydracoach bottle. With a screen right on the bottle, you are able to see your real-time fluid consumption and pace yourself throughout the day. Another newer product on the market is the Blufit bottle. The bottle lights up to let you know when you need to drink more and it also syncs with an app on your phone for mobile notifications and consumption tracking.

Children are also very susceptible to dehydration, especially in the heat of summertime. CoolMomEats suggests six ways that you can ensure your child is properly hydrated, but you can also utilize these for yourself. Instead of drinking plain water all the time, mix it up by adding fruit to infuse the water, this also adds vitamins and nutrients in addition to a new taste. You can also try new types of drinks such as homemade smoothies or teas if your children become bored with plain water. Try also eating hydrating foods, such as the watermelon mentioned above, and making popsicles with coconut water and juice to sneak in some healthy, water-based options – further ensuring proper hydration.

Do you keep track of how much water you drink or have any fun ways to stay hydrated? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.