With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.
Many people experience thirst after they have engaged in physically demanding work or a hard session at the gym. This occurs when you’re losing more fluids that you are taking in and we refer to this as dehydration. This can gradually sneak up on you, and many people are surprised when they finally succumb to dehydration. If you have mild dehydration, just drinking some water will restore your fluid balance, but if the dehydration is severe fluids may have to be administered intravenously by a medical professional. Let’s take a closer look at how you can recognize the signs of dehydration so that you can take steps to avoid it.
The Importance of Hydration
Dehydration occurs when we don’t take in enough water from eating and more importantly drinking. The human body is composed of almost 60% water, and we need it for vital bodily functions, such as breathing, digestion, and others. We can lose water very quickly if we sweat too much when working or exercising. It’s also possible to lose too much water by excessive urination, and you can become dehydrated if you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or a fever. Dehydration can occur with a water loss of only 1%, and the symptoms can develop quickly.
10 Basic Signs of Dehydration in Adults
If you’re experiencing any of the following ten common signs of dehydration you need to drink some water and rehydrate.
- The Urine Colour
When you’re hydrated, the colour of your urine will be clear or a light straw colour. If your urine is a very dark yellow or amber colour, this is a sure sign that you’ve become dehydrated. You may also notice that you need to urinate less if you’re experiencing dehydration.
- Experiencing Thirst
This may seem strange, as we often think of thirst as an indicator that we are about to become dehydrated. This is incorrect, if you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated, and your body is warning you to take on some fluids.
- Painful Muscular Cramps
Our connective tissue and muscle groups need plenty of water to stay supple. If you experience cramps in your muscles, this could be a sign that you’ve become dehydrated. A simple glass of water will be enough to get rid of the cramp if dehydration is the cause.
- Feeling Faint or Dizzy
If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, this could be a sign that you need to sit down and drink some clean water. This can happen when dehydration has lowered your blood volume and your blood pressure. If you feel tired or weak at the same time, this could also mean you’ve become dehydrated, and you need to increase your fluid intake.
- Dry Mouth, Eyes, and Skin
There is a simple way to check for dehydration symptoms, grab some skin on the back of your hand and then release it; if the skin goes back to its previous position in a few seconds, you’re probably hydrated. If the skin goes back slower, this could indicate that you’ve become dehydrated. Also, if you have dryness in your mouth or your eyes feel dry, this is a good indicator that you need to drink some water.
- Experiencing Brain Fog
The human brain is composed of more than 70% water, and research has shown that dehydration can affect how the brain functions. Key brain related activities, such as concentration, alertness, and memory, are all affected negatively if you don’t drink enough water. This is often the source of the mid afternoon brain fog that many people suffer from at work. Some people attempt to boost their brain functions by drinking an afternoon cup of coffee when water would be a far better alternative.
- Constipation Issues
When you’re dehydrated, you could experience constipation issues. There may be fewer or more difficult bowel movements if you don’t drink adequate amounts of water. We need water to digest our food and to move the waste along our digestive tract. So, if you want to stay regular, it’s essential to drink plenty of clean water.
- Experiencing Headaches
It’s possible to suffer from a headache even if you’re only experiencing mild dehydration. A study on women showed that a dehydration level of only 1.36% in certain cases was enough to trigger a headache. Headache pain could be linked to low blood pressure, which can be caused by dehydration. If you drink some water, the blood pressure can be raised, and in many cases, this can ease the headache.
- A Pounding Heartbeat
If you’re experiencing a faster pounding heartbeat accompanied by quick breathing, this could a sign that you’re severely dehydrated. When you lose too much water, your blood volume is lowered, and your heart will have to work far harder to get the blood moving throughout your body. When you drink water, the blood volume is raised back to normal, and the heart rate should also slow. If you experience these types of symptoms, you should seek professional medical advice.
- Mood Changes
Studies carried out on men and women have shown that dehydration can make a person feel more tense, anxious and even depressed. Many people, reported that their mood was lower and simple tasks were more difficult to perform while being dehydrated. If you’re experiencing feelings, such as irritability, confusion or anger, this could indicate that you’ve become dehydrated.
Dehydration in Babies and Toddlers
A baby or toddler can lose water very quickly because of their smaller size. Some common indicators of dehydration could include: crying without tears, a high fever, a dry mouth, unusual drowsiness, excessive fussiness and a diaper that has been dry for over three hours. If you notice any of these symptoms take steps to hydrate the baby or toddler using expert medical advice.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Medical experts recommend that an adult drinks at least 2 litres of water per day. This can vary a great deal depending on activity levels, but it’s a good benchmark. If you need more detailed information, there are water drinking calculators available online. If you need a reminder on when you need to drink, there are apps available to track your progress throughout the day.
If you are interested in bottled water delivery, you should speak to a water treatment company.