TheBoldAge explores: Things that happen when you don’t drink enough
By Liz Connor. Published 2020-09-11BOLD-Wellbeing
Plain ol’ H20 is pretty important for a healthy lifestyle. Here’s why…
1. You gain weightMany people associate drinking water with bloating, but dehydration can actually cause temporary weight gain through water retention. When your body isn’t getting enough water, it retains as much fluid as possible as a survival mechanism to avoid severe dehydration.
2. You become fatiguedDrinking enough fluid is one of the best things you can do for your athletic performance. Water composes around 75% of our muscle tissue, so when we skimp on drinking it, it can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness and electrolyte imbalance.
3. Aches and pains get worseWater helps hydrate the discs between the vertebrae in your spine and prevents your ligaments, muscles and tendons from becoming tight and stiff, and it also reduces pain in the joints by keeping cartilage soft and hydrated.
4. You get headachesWhen the body is dehydrated, the brain temporarily contracts or shrinks from fluid loss. This mechanism causes the brain to physically pull away from the skull, resulting in a dehydration headache.
5. You get ‘wangry’We all know about feeling hangry (irritability from hunger), but did you know you can get wangry too? Two studies from the University of Connecticut found that even being mildly dehydrated can negatively affect mood in both men and women, making subjects grumpy and confused.
6. You can’t focus at workYour brain is made of around 80% water, so your ability to generate ideas and problem solve seriously depends on it. One UK study even found that drinking water after dehydration can improve mental ability by 14%.
7. Your kidney function dipsFor your kidneys to do their job properly, they need water to dilute the blood. Without enough water, your kidneys have to overwork to filter out the blood, which can lead to kidney failure – but only in the most severe instances. A morning without water is unlikely to lead to serious complications.
8. You put yourself at risk of heart failureWhen there’s not enough water in your body, your blood thickens and your heart has to work harder to pump it around the body. In the most severe cases, blood pressure can drop so low that the body goes into a state of hypovolemic shock. This occurs when when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the body for it to function properly, so organs start to shut down. It’s a potentially fatal complication that needs immediate emergency treatment.
So how much water should you be drinking?The NHS advises that in climates such as the UK’s, we should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated.In hotter climates, the body needs more than this, so it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to top up if you’re going on a hot holiday.You shouldn’t rely on feeling thirsty to remind you to drink water, because by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.If you feel any dehydration symptoms, drink fluids – keep taking small sips and gradually drink more if you can. As a general rule, you should drink enough during the day so that your urine is a pale clear colour.If you’re being sick or have diarrhoea, you have a higher risk of dehydrating, and you’ll need to put back the sugar, salts and minerals that your body has lost. Your pharmacist can recommend oral rehydration sachets.
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