The surprising signs of dehydration that you may have missed
Even slight dehydration can have a detrimental impact on the body and mind. The body needs a certain amount of water to function correctly. But when it loses more fluids than it takes in, several troubling symptoms can arise.
It’s not just the body that is affected by low water intake. Being parched can affect your mood, energy levels, and even the way you think if your thirst isn’t suitably quenched.
Medium recently explored the impact dehydration can have on cognitive function and motor skills, and how it impairs even the simplest daily tasks:
“We all know not to drive under the influence of alcohol. But according to the findings of a 2015 study conducted at Loughborough University, we should also avoid driving dehydrated.
Volunteers committed a significantly greater number of errors such as lane drifting and late braking in a two-hour driving simulation when they did it dehydrated.”
Knowing and spotting the signs of dehydration is the key to preventing worsening symptoms and keeping your body functioning as it should.
Whilst symptoms like feeling thirsty and fatigued, having dark coloured urine, and experiencing dry mouth, lips, and eyes are well-known, there are some surprising signs of dehydration that you may have missed.
The saliva in your mouth has powerful antibacterial qualities, which increases oral hygiene no end.
Saliva actively prevents bacterial overgrowth within the mouth. As dehydration affects the production of saliva – which causes dry mouth, a well-known symptom associated with dehydration – reduced salivation can result in bad breath. This is also one of the reasons why we experience ‘morning breath’.
Hydration and good skin go hand-in-hand. How much water you drink can directly influence the appearance and texture of your skin, and the more hydrated you are, the softer and more glowing your skin is likely to look. So, you can probably guess what happens to your skin when it’s been deprived of water.
Another lesser-known symptom of dehydration is dry and flushed skin. Dehydration can also exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
One of the main roles of water within the body is to regulate body temperature. Your body sweats to keep your body at just the right temperature, but any water lost through sweating has to be replaced through hydration. Staying hydrated is therefore vital, especially when working out or during hot weather.
If you’re not replenishing these fluids through regular hydration and your body is unable to cool itself adequately, you may experience muscle cramps.
Muscle cramps caused by dehydration are much more likely to occur during or after intense exercise.
Unregulated body temperature will make your muscles work harder and therefore cramp more easily.
Read our top tips for staying hydrated before, during and after exercise.
A sweet tooth
Dehydration makes it more difficult for organs to function. If the effects of dehydration reach your liver, you’re likely to experience some serious food cravings.
Your liver uses water to release stored glucose (officially known as glycogen) into the bloodstream, which is then used by the body as fuel.
Without adequate water, your liver will be unable to fulfil this role and your body will use food to bridge the gap.
The result will be intense cravings for anything sugary or salty. It is more likely to be something sweet as this is the closest thing to the stored glucose that your body is missing.
Stay hydrated throughout the day in the most delicious way by exploring the benefits of drinking filtered water.