What are the common signs of dehydration?
Staying hydrated is important year round, but it’s especially hard in the summer!
Water is a necessity to our survival. The human body is composed of 60% water and every system in our bodies depends on water to function properly. That means dehydration, even a mild case, can have widespread repercussions.
Mild dehydration is easily remedied but severe dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to loss of consciousness, organ failure, and in serious cases even death. So how do you know if your body is dehydrated? There are many telltale signs, you just need to know how to recognize the symptoms!
1) Increased thirst
This is the most obvious way to tell if you are dehydrated. Unfortunately, when you start feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. It’s best to try and stay hydrated enough that you never reach this point.
2) Bad breath
Dehydration can prevent your body from making enough saliva. Saliva works constantly to wash away food particles that collect on your tongue, between your teeth, and along your gums after you eat. The lack of saliva in your mouth can allow bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
3) Dry skin
When your body goes through various stages of dehydration, you will stop sweating, you will lose blood volume and get very dry skin. If you pinch the back of your hand, and the skin doesn’t spring back fairly quickly, you are most likely dehydrated.
4) Muscle cramps
Dehydration can cause changes in the electrolytes in your muscles along with changes in the sodium and potassium in your body. This can lead to muscle cramping caused by dehydration.
5) Fever and chills
It might sound counterintuitive, but if your body is severely dehydrated you may experience symptoms like fever or chills. Fevers can be especially dangerous, so be sure to seek immediate medical help if you are experiencing a fever.
6) Food cravings, especially for sweets
Dehydration can cause you to crave anything from chocolate to a salty snack, however, cravings for sweets are more common because your body may be experiencing difficulty with glycogen production. Glycogen is a form of stored carbohydrates that our body uses as fuel and the cravings are just our bodies telling us we need more of it.
Our brains sit inside a fluid sack that keeps it from bumping against our skulls. If the fluid is depleted or running low because of dehydration, the brain can push up against parts of the skull, causing headaches. Keep in mind that there are many different types of headaches and they are not all caused by a lack of hydration. Nevertheless, a headache may be a sign that your body needs more water.
All of these symptoms can be easily relieved by drinking water throughout the day. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, drinking water may not immediately relieve your symptoms. That is why we advise drinking water consistently and keeping your body hydrated. If you are experiencing cravings for sweets, the best way to indulge and hydrate at the same time is by eating fruits with extremely high water content, like watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, or cucumbers.
Remember when you are exercising in the summer the longer you’re working out, the more water you will need. Although you should alway hydrate properly, remember that if you’re working too hard and too long in the summer heat, you can still overheat no matter how much water you’re drinking. It’s important to be aware of your body and pay attention to your limits, especially if you start experiencing symptoms.
Premier Medical Group is proud to help our patients keep their entire bodies healthy. This includes drinking enough water and getting enough rest. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, or think there may be more to your dehydration than meets the eye, set up an appointment to see someone on our care team. At Premier Medical Group we renew our commitment daily to treating each patient with respect and compassion.