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  • Writer's pictureHeather

Reasons You May Become Dehydrated More Quickly Than Others

Between 60% to 80% of our body is made of water. When we’re dehydrated, we have a lack of water in our body and our body doesn’t have enough water to perform its necessary functions. This can be from not drinking enough water or when we lose water quickly from sweating, vomiting or diarrhea and don’t match the losses. Water helps aid in digestion, lubricates our joints, makes saliva, delivers oxygen throughout our body, regulates our body temperature, and balances our body’s elements. So, it’s important to watch out for signs that we’re not drinking enough water. Signs of possible dehydration can include:

  • Decreased urine output. It is normal to urinate approximately every 2 – 3 hours. If we go longer than that, we are likely getting low on water.

  • Concentrated urine that’s dark-colored. Our urine should be clear to a light-yellow color. Any darker and we are likely under hydrated.

  • Headache, nausea, muscle cramps and fatigue are often indicators we have let our body water get too low. If we experience any of these symptoms, we need to drink water and rest to let our body assimilate the fluid.

  • Dizziness, light-headedness, and dry mouth can be telling us we are low on water.

Some of us seem to need more water than others. This is likely due to multiple factors that can be environmental or unique to each of us. These factors can be quite obvious while others are difficult to determine. Reasons we may become dehydrated quicker than others can be:

  1. Environmental factors such as temperature of the day and/or humidity in the air. We have all heard the line about Arizona being “dry heat”. When we are out on a warm day and the humidity is very low, we will become dehydrated much sooner. Actually, this is true whether it is very warm or not. Dry air, whether warm or cold, can be a determining factor in how fast we become dehydrated.

  2. Activity level – anytime we are working or exercising, we will need more water to stay hydrated. We lose water through sweat, but we also lose water through respiration. This means the harder we are breathing the more water we need to take in.

  3. Medications being taken – some prescription medications are termed hydrophobic or diuretic. These medications can include antacids, laxatives and blood pressure medication, among others. Some medications, such as Lasix, are specifically designed to flush water and electrolytes out of our body.

  4. Drinking the wrong fluids. We might feel thirsty and drink an iced tea to satisfy our thirst. Drinking iced tea will actually make our dehydration worse. Any fluids that contain caffeine will have a diuretic effect on our body. This means coffee, tea, any caffeinated soda, and most energy drinks will make our hydration deficit worse. When we are thirsty or have been sweating, always drink plain water. Nothing hydrates our body better, no matter what the advertisements say.

Generally speaking, we need to drink approximately half our body weight in ounces of water, every day. This means a 160-pound person should drink at least 80 ounces of water daily. If we do strenuous work or prolonged exercise, the recommendation would be to drink more than this amount. Remember, nothing beats water for hydration.

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