The Dangers of Dehydration
Anything that nourishes can heal, but among all the nutrients, water is unsurpassed in its ability to heal. The human body is composed of approximately 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. Water is involved in almost every bodily function from circulation and digestion to absorption and elimination of wastes. Water carries electrolytes, and and mineral salts that help convey electrical currents in the body. Water requirements vary greatly from person to person. The climate we live in, our activity level and our diet all influence our individual needs for water.
Here are just a few of the functions of water in the human body that are vital:
- Improves oxygen delivery to the cells
- Transports nutrients
- Helps the cells to stay hydrated
- Moistens oxygen for easier breathing
- Cushions bones and joints
- Absorbs shocks to joints and organs
- Regulates body temperature
- Removes wastes and flushes toxins
- Prevents tissues from sticking
- Lubricates joints
- Improves cell to cell communication
- Maintain normal electrical properties of cells
- Improves the bodies natural healing process
Most of us view dehydration as a minor inconvenience and it may not sound very threatening, but left untreated it can transform into a life-threatening condition. Every summer people fall victim to dehydration due to heatstroke. Dehydration causes millions of deaths worldwide each year. Children are more seriously affected than adults because they become dehydrated more quickly. Unfortunately, dehydration kills more children worldwide than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined.
We lose water daily through our skin, urine, lungs and feces. Without enough water, we basically dry ourselves out, dehydration is linked to a long list of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, back pain, cataracts, chronic fatigue, depression, heartburn, colitis, kidney stones, migraines, constipation and asthma to name a few.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
Early or mild dehydration includes (partial list):
- Back Pain
- Cramping in arms and legs
- Little or no urine, dark yellow
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Cracking of the lining of the nose causing the nose to bleed
Moderate to sever dehydration includes (partial list):
- Extreme thirst
- Low blood pressure
- Fast, weak pulse
- Rapid, deep breathing
- Bloated stomach
- Severe muscle contractions in arms, legs, stomach and back
- Lack of elasticity of the skin
Severe dehydration includes:
- Loss of consciousness
- Cool moist extremities
- Rapid feeble pulse
- Extremities display bluish tint (caused by lack of circulation)
- Major organ, including heart, lungs, and brain begin to fail
Water is best consumed at several intervals through out the day, 1-2 glasses upon wakening and if you add lemon it is a great gentle detox for the liver. It is also best to drink water 1 hour before meals, as it can dilute digestive juices and reduce food digestion.
As you can see dehydration is not to be taken lightly, it can turn into a very serious and life threatening condition. Check out my water intake calculator and see how much water you need daily. But remember, more water is required when you are active, in hot weather and when you are eating high amounts of protein and fibre.
Try my basil lemonade, it’s a great thirst quencher on a hot summers day!