10 Little Known Effects of not Drinking Enough Water
The human body is made of approximately 70% water. Though a human can go approximately three weeks without food, we can go just seven days at most without water. H20 is used in our body for everything from joint lubrication to flushing waste products out of our system. The first week in May is Drinking Water Week across Canada. According to the Institute of Medicine, people should drink at least two liters of water per day to maintain optimal function. Men should drink up to three liters to maintain optimal function.
If you regularly don't keep up with your two-liter quota, some strange yet interesting symptoms may start to appear.
Here are 10 signs of not drinking enough water that you may be completely unaware of:
As you may already know, skin is the largest organ in our bodies. The less fluid you drink, the less sweat is produced to keep you cool. Eventually, the skin is unable to wash away dirt and other toxins, resulting in localized redness, irritation, and peeling. Such a condition can become extremely painful and lead to expensive dermatologist visits and moisturizing creams. If enough time passes without getting rehydrated, the extremely painful and debilitating condition eczema will become prevalent on skin.
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Water is also used by our stomach and intestines to help digest food. Not drinking enough can cause the strength and quantity of mucus in your stomach to decrease, setting the stage for acid damage throughout your gut. Chronic heartburn, ulcers, or even gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are long-term effects of such a problem. Additionally, a lack of lubrication in the intestines will lead to constipation.
Increased Hunger and Weight Gain
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Random bouts of slight hunger throughout your day can also be a sign that you need to grab your water bottle. Numerous studies have touted the benefits of high water consumption as part of a weight loss regimen. An Obesity (Silver Spring) study found that 8 ounces of water before a reduced calorie meal can lead to greater weight loss when compared with someone who doesn't drink beforehand.
Elevated Electrolytes in Your Blood
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Electrolytes in our blood control everything from muscle function and heart rhythm to our thoughts and energy. As dehydration depletes our body of fluid, electrolyte levels rise, particularly sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride. Those who actively exercise must be especially careful to drink enough fluid. High levels of potassium can cause cardiac arrhythmia while elevated sodium has been shown to cause everything from general confusion to seizures. If elevated electrolytes are detected in blood work, doctors may order rehydration by IV in a hospital setting.
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Saliva in our mouth helps us swallow and keep harmful bacteria growth at bay. When we as humans don't drink enough water, salivary glands produce less liquid and food stuff can linger in the very back of our mouth. As those products start to break down, bacteria begin to grow and give off all sorts of unpleasant odors. Chronic dehydration can also lead to halitosis, which is the clinical presentation of chronic "bad breath". Treatment requires all sorts of expensive mouthwashes and rinses.
Decreased Cognitive (Brain) Function
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According to medical literature, the brain contains about 20% of blood circulating its way through the body at a given time. As brain cells are 85% water, the organ requires more water to function than any other part of our body. Inside the brain, hydroelectric energy is created between cells through osmosis. Dehydration inhibits the ability to produce such energy, leading to a lack the biochemical processes that set our thoughts, mood, and actions.
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Kidneys help our body filter out waste products and are the main source of water elimination for humans. When a lack of water is detected, a process called renin-angiotensin starts and our kidneys begin to inhibit urination. Once that happens, the organs form crystals, more popularly known as kidney stones, which cause excruciating pain in the back, bladder, and lower body. Surgery may be necessary to remove the stones, which can also cause a build-up of fluid in knees and ankles.
Headaches and Migraines
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Some physicians recommend drinking a few cups of water at the first sign of a headache because such an ailment is one of the first signs of dehydration. When our body lacks water, it attempts to reabsorb fluid from all of its tissue. Skin will begin to shrink, pulling away from the skull and causing pain around nerve endings. Additionally, swelling will occur in the brain's blood vessels, also causing pain. Eventually, the pain can be so severe that the sufferer can become sensitive to light and sound.
Decreased Immune System Function
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As previously mentioned, water helps our body filter waste and carry out metabolic processes. Without ample fluid, those byproducts remain in our system. Bacteria and virus particles flourish and eventually make us sick. Additionally, many home remedies tout the benefits of tea and juice to cure minor illness. However, the caffeine and high sugar content in those beverages actually increase dehydration. Plain, unadulterated water is the best thing to help our bodies recover.
Altered Body Temperature
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When we exert ourselves through physical activity our internal temperature rises and sweat, the human body's built-in cooling system, is triggered. But, as previously mentioned, if not enough liquid is present in our system to produce sweat, that cooling system will not function properly. Our temperature will rise well out of normal range, leading to cramps, and life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke. Physically active adults and professional athletes must pay particular attention to their water intake during warm weather to avoid these issues.
Fortunately, virtually all of these problems can be avoided by drinking the recommended two, or even three, liters of water per day. Increased water consumption has been shown to lower disease rates, improve cognitive ability and mood, as well as helping our skin to "glow."
To help make sure you're getting enough H20, check walmart or costco for a one-liter reusable water bottle. Many quality products can be had for less than $15. Some even come with measurements along the side to help make you aware of exactly how much you're drinking. Check out eBay to get your your water bottle with measurements