Dehydration simply means that you have lost more fluids than you take in. This is a common issue among all age groups, however children and the elderly are more prone to develop symptoms of dehydration. If you are an athlete, or you are involved in high-intensity physical activity, you may also be at an increased risk for dehydration.
It is quite normal to lose water and electrolytes through sweating, breathing, urinating or defecating each day. However, if fluid loss is higher than fluid intake, you will develop dehydration.
Some other activities which can lead to dehydration are vomiting, diarrhea, fever and gastrointestinal infection or inflammation. The level of dehydration may vary from mild up to severe. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention.
Some of the most common symptoms which may occur if you are dehydrated are outlined below.
Thirst is the most easily recognized sign that your body is dehydrated. It is the way our body informs us regarding the status of fluids in our body. The feeling of thirst indicates to us that we need more fluids and helps us to keep our fluid level balanced.
The mechanism behind the sensation of thirst is quite sophisticated and not yet completely understood. The loss of fluid inside the body, including water and electrolytes, represents a trigger for some receptors in the body to activate a set of neural and hormonal processes, which leads to the sensation of thirst in our brains.
Excessive thirst means that we are already dehydrated. The brain is one of the organs that is extremely sensitive to dehydration. It is recommended that you should practice a regular intake of water and electrolytes by drinking and eating sufficiently to prevent dehydration and keep your brain fully functional during the day.
2. Confusion and/or Irritability
Have you ever wondered why we you’re sometimes confused in the morning when you wake up? This is because of dehydration. As already mentioned, the brain is very sensitive to a loss of fluids. If the brain is dehydrated, we may feel dizzy, confused and sleepy. Therefore, drinking a glass or two of fresh water each time we wake up in the morning is essential to protect and enhance our brain function during the day. More severe dehydration can cause irritability. If you feel anxious and irritable, this may be due to dehydration.
More symptoms on next page…