Let’s talk about hydration! It’s common knowledge that staying well hydrated is a good thing and dehydration is a bad thing. But, do you know enough about this topic to avoid problems? For instance, when should you start taking in more fluids? What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration? When should you seek medical assistance? Knowing the answers to these questions could help you avoid trouble in this area.
It’s that time of year again. When the temperature starts to steadily increase and summer is on its way! What better time to learn about proper hydration and prevention of dehydration?
Let’s start with daily water intake. As a general guideline, Mayo Clinic recommends approximately 15.5 cups per day for men and 11.5 cups per day for women. This is a combination of all fluid intake for a day. Fluid intake can come from multiple sources! Water is the primary source, other beverages and food also contribute to overall intake. Keep in mind that this recommendation is a general guideline! There are multiple factors that can change these numbers. Activity level, environment, and health status, are just a few of these factors. In general, your fluid intake should increase if your output increases. For example, if you are in a hot environment, your water intake should increase to match the increased temperature. This will help prevent dehydration. Which brings with it certain risks. We will get to that next!
Dehydration occurs when your fluid output is greater than your fluid input. When this happens, your body does not have enough water to perform its normal functions. As you can guess, this leads to problems! The tricky part is that your body does not tell you it is becoming dehydrated until the problem is there, which means you don’t feel thirsty until it’s too late. Once the problem is there, then your body lets you know about it, in the form of symptoms. There are multiple symptoms that can occur when you are dehydrated. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, dizziness and confusion, less frequent urination, and extreme feeling of thirst. If these symptoms are severe, medical assistance may be needed to restore the body to normal function. Other times, dehydration can be self-treated with rest and increased fluid intake.
The best way to treat dehydration is by preventing it altogether! This can be done by maintaining proper hydration! Seems simple, right? If you rarely feel thirsty and have light colored urine, you are probably well hydrated. Here are some helpful hints to maintain your hydration. It’s always a good idea to drink water before, during, and after physical activity. Drinking water with your meals is another easy way to help stay hydrated.
But wait, there’s more…..
To read more on this topic, visit the links provided, which give more information on proper fluid intake, general guidelines for various activities, conditions, and risks/dangers of dehydration for various populations.