Dehydration: Are you drinking enough water?

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Water may be a missing link in our overall health routine. Being properly hydrated can have a positive effect on your body from improving your mood to skin elasticity. Thirst isn’t always the best indicator as to how much water your body needs for as we age dehydration can manifest itself as tiredness and lightheadedness. A better way to gauge whether your water intake is optimal, is by looking at the color of your urine: clear or light-colored urine means you’re drinking enough water, and dark yellow urine means you need to up your intake.

Symptoms

Mild Dehydration

• Dry, sticky mouth

• Sleepiness

• Thirst

• Decreased urine

• Headache

• Higher core temperature

• Reduced skin elasticity

Severe Dehydration

• Extreme thirst

• Irritability and confusion

• Lack of sweating

• Low blood pressure

• Rapid heartbeat

• Constipation

Contributors to Dehydration

While there are obvious reasons as to why you can end up dehydrated, other triggers are less obvious. Here are the top contributors:

• Medications

• Diabetes

• Low carb diets

• Stress

• Drinking alcohol

• Exercise/Sweating

• Not drinking enough water

Dehydration Prevention

The best way to prevent dehydration is it to make sure you are drinking enough water and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. But how much water is enough water? Though much discussion around the subject will give you different answers, the US Institute of Medicine (link) recommends that most adults should drink about 3.7 liters of water a day, which equates to about 15-8oz glasses daily.

Steps for Prevention

• Drink enough water

• Eat fruits and vegetables

• Spread your fluid intake throughout the day

• Hydrate more during exercise or hot weather

• Avoid over doing it on caffeine

• Avoid alcohol

Keeping these steps in mind can help prevent dehydration on a day to day basis but for those experiencing consistent symptoms it is best to consult your doctor. A medical professional can help you identify any underlying causes and how to best address them. At the end of the day, proper hydration is extremely important for your overall health and an easy enough habit to get into. Set water intake goals and see how your overall health improves over time. Stay hydrated!

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