The body is made up of 25% solid matter and 75% water. Water is needed by the body to give nourishment, regulate all the different functions in the body, and eliminate toxins and wastes. When the body gets thirsty, it requires plain and pure drinking water. Other liquids such as coffee, tea, juice, or alcohol do not really satisfy a person’s thirst because although they contain water, they also contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, or other chemicals that are dehydrators or that keep the body more thirsty.
Caffeine and alcohol both have strong diuretic qualities causing increased urination. Drinks with added sugar such as soda and juices drastically raise the levels of blood sugar which consumes enormous amounts of cellular water. Regular intake of these drinks may cause chronic dehydration.
Dehydration takes place when there are more fluids that leave the body than the ones that enter it. Since the body contains 75% water, water is necessary for survival. That’s why it’s very important to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day to keep the body hydrated. It is also important to drink water every time you feel thirsty, every time you workout, and do exercise, and every time you sweat because it means that you are losing water in the body.
The body is capable of monitoring the volume of water that it requires functioning properly. The thirst mechanism of the body sends a signal to the body to consume fluids when the body has lost lots of water and is dry. Anti-diuretic hormones (ADH) go hand in hand with the kidneys to lessen the amount of water lost through the urine whenever the body needs to sustain water.
2Causes of Dehydration
The main causes of dehydration are lack of intake of water, loss of too much water, or a combination of both. Other causes may be because you are too busy that you tend to forget to drink water, you are in a place that doesn’t have potable water, you are in a place without access to water such as the mountains when you go hiking.
Diarrhea is the most frequent cause of dehydration. Each bowel movement causes a loss of a compelling amount of water in the body.
Sweat makes the body lose a lot of water. The body uses water in the form of sweat to cool itself once the body temperature increases due to working out, exercising, being in a hot environment, or having a fever because of an infection. When the body loses water through sweat, the body has a thirst mechanism that signals the person to drink fluids.
3Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
- Yellowish and concentrated urine
- Decreased urine output
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dry mouth
- Muscle cramps
- Eyes stop producing tears
- Heart palpitations
The body tries to keep the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart to the body.
If there is a decline in the amount of fluid in the intravascular space, the body makes up for the decrease by allowing blood vessels to compress and by increasing the heart rate to try to maintain blood flow and blood pressure to the important organs of the body. The body diverts blood flow away from the skin to internal organs like the heart, brain, kidneys, intestines, and lungs causing the skin to feel damp and cool. As the level of dehydration increases, this coping mechanism begins to malfunction.
When there is a shortage of water in the body, the Renin-Angiotensin (RA) system is activated. The RA system commands the body to hold on to water wherever possible.
It guides the kidneys to suppress urination and tightens the vascular system and the capillaries, especially in areas that are not as important as the heart and the brain muscles. It also encourages an increase in absorbing sodium that helps the body to maintain water. The RA system remains activated unless the body returns to its normal hydration level. This also means that the pressure of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels remains abnormally high, causing cardiovascular disease.
The retention of urine in the kidneys and hypertension result in kidney damage. The normal treatments for this disease are restricted salt consumption and diuretic drugs, normalizes the blood pressure. Diuretic drugs and reduced salt intake strongly weaken the body’s emergency efforts to conserve the minimal water it has left for cell functions. The resulting response to stress results in more dehydration.
Chronic dehydration can increase the risk of having kidney stones and can also affect the functioning of the kidneys. Dehydration can, therefore, cause kidney pain. Dehydration can affect the normal functioning of kidneys.