Water accounts for most of a human body’s contents by weight, ranging from 55 percent of seniors’ body weight to 75 percent of children’s body weight. When people don’t get as much water as they need or lose excessive amounts of water, they can experience serious health consequences.
You can help sustain your family’s wellness more successfully once you understand the role of water in human health, sensible ways of getting that water on a daily basis, and the ways medical professionals can deal with dehydration issues. Start by absorbing the following questions and answers.
1. Why Does the Body Need Water?
Water plays multiple functions in the body. Perhaps most obviously, it helps the kidneys filter toxins out of the blood, with the resulting waste expelled as urine. This same process can also help balance electrolytes and other substances that help maintain blood pressure, joint lubrication, saliva production, and healthy digestion.
Water not only helps to preserve and moderate your body’s functions, but it can also help you avoid dysfunctions. Regular water intake may help you ward off common problems such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, malnutrition, and even tooth decay (since saliva helps to protect teeth against bacteria).
2. How Much Water Do You Need?
The amount of water an individual should consume each day depends on various factors, including body size, age, and activity level. For instance, babies who still rely on milk for their nutrition may not need to drink water at all until they switch to a solid diet. Athletes need extra water to make up for the water they lose through perspiration.
As a general rule, physicians typically recommend that adults drink the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. However, many foods also serve as rich sources of water. Examples include fruits, green vegetables, potatoes, dairy products, legumes, pasta, corn, shrimp, and chicken breast.
3. How Does Dehydration Occur?
Dehydration can occur gradually if you fail to consume enough water from day to day. The more exercise you engage in, the more water you’ll lose, setting the stage for possible dehydration. Keep in mind, however, that you need to replace electrolytes such as potassium and sodium along with any extra water you drink.
Illnesses commonly cause dehydration. For instance, if you have a problem that affects your digestion, you can lose lots of water through diarrhea and vomiting. Fever or hot weather can cause you to sweat heavily and lose water at an accelerated rate. Some chronic conditions such as diabetes may also increase water loss.
4. When Should You Suspect Dehydration?
Different age groups may show the telltale signs of dehydration in somewhat different ways. Babies, for instance, may stop making tears when they cry, stop wetting their diapers for hours at a time, and seem unusually irritable or quiet. You may also notice a sunken look to their facial features or the soft spot on top of the head.
Typical signs of dehydration in adults include dark-colored urine, infrequent urination, and abnormal thirst. If you have dehydration, you may also feel dizzy, confused, or fatigued. Extremely low blood volume due to lack of fluid can even cause you to go into shock.
5. How Do Doctors Treat Dehydration Emergencies?
You can combat mild to moderate dehydration at home simply by increasing your water intake and replacing electrolytes until any symptoms improve. However, if acute diarrhea or other severe illness prevents you from normalizing your fluid balance, seek emergency medical evaluation and treatment.
Doctors can hydrate their patients quickly and effectively. Your doctor may give you fluids intravenously, especially if vomiting keeps you from holding water down otherwise. You can also receive emergency treatment to lower your body temperature if you suffer from a dehydrating fever or case of heat stroke.
Whether one of your loved ones suffers from dehydration or you simply want to establish a healthier lifestyle that features adequate fluid intake, contact Stellis Health for solutions. Our medical team can provide emergency fluid replacement, treat illnesses that promote dehydration, and advise you on preventative wellness measures.