How Do You Know If You Are Dehydrated
Dehydration, which occurs when the body has insufficient water and other fluids to function properly, can lead to blood clots, seizures, and other potentially fatal complications. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can have adverse effects on mood and energy. That’s why it’s essential to be vigilant about the common signs of dehydration, especially as summer approaches. Read on to learn more about how we know if we are dehydrated.
1. Thirsty and a dry or sticky mouth
Mild dehydration can be marked by feeling slightly thirsty. If dehydration is becoming a problem, you may experience extreme thirst. This can often cause related symptoms such as a dry mouth or a dry tongue. The easiest remedy is to start drinking water as soon as you notice this, but try not to let yourself get to this point.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to meet your daily hydration needs, for women, the National Academy of Sciences recommends 2.7 liters of water a day, and for men, 3.7 liters. Try to drink more water if you’ve spent excessive time in the sun or exercising.
2. Headaches or disorientation
Dehydration can result in a headache or migraine, light headedness or delirium. Perhaps you’ve seen marathon runners running in zigzags, that’s because they’re dehydrated. You can’t make decisions and feel delirious.
You may also experience weakness or dizziness, because your body doesn’t have enough fluid to send to other parts of the body, which could result in heat exhaustion. You may collapse if you don’t stop and cool down. These specific symptoms can be signs of over hydration too, so be aware of how much you’re drinking.
3. Muscle cramps
If you’ve been exercising, it’s natural for your legs to feel tired, but if it’s more than that and you’re experiencing muscle cramping, that’s a serious sign of dehydration. This is because of the loss of water and salt in the body — you might experience tightness in your muscles, instead of cramping.
To prevent this from occurring, it’s important to drink sports beverages that contain sodium, or snack on salted pretzels or low-fat cheeses. The sodium helps your body to re-hydrate and retain the water. (But it is undesirable to drink water immediately after exercising. )
4. Urine color
Check the toilet bowl after you pee. Your urine color can be an indication of health. Urine should be pale, straw colored or light yellow. Darker urine may indicate dehydration.
Urine that’s somewhat dark yellow indicates you’re mildly dehydrated and should drink some water soon. When urine becomes amber colored or brown, this can indicate severe dehydration. You need to start drinking water right away and contact a doctor if the problem persists.
Dehydration can happen for a number of reasons, so remember to always listen to your body, and stop what you’re doing if you notice any of these symptoms indicating you are dehydrated. But it’s also crucial to understand 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.