Dehydration is the dire consequence of loss of fluids in the body being greater than the intake. Water is lost every day in the form of water vapor in the breath that is exhaled and in excreted sweat, urine, and stool. Along with the water, small amounts of salts are also lost. If the fluid loss is not replaced, the body is deprived and may succumb to dehydration.

The body’s first indicator of dehydration settling in is thirst. “If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated,” explains Dr Laura Goldberg of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.

Here are 5 more ways to know if you are dehydrated:

1. Changes in skin elasticity and dry skin

The skin is made up of 30% water, responsible for its fullness and elasticity. When healthy, hydrated skin is being pulled, the water properties will allow for the skin to bounce back and return to its normal shape.

On the other hand, when the body is dehydrated, fluid is pulled away from the skin and diverted to major organs to keep them functioning properly. This shift of fluid away from the skin causes it to lose its elasticity.

In addition, a lack of fluid in the skin can cause dryness and make skin feel cool and clammy to the touch. While skin lotions can handle a topical job, increasing water intake will improve skin’s overall health.

2. Extreme tiredness and sleepiness

A study from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory found that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. The researchers defined mild dehydration as an approximately 1.5% loss in normal water volume in the body.

Dehydration-induced fatigue can be experienced not only from exercising but also from not having enough water intake in general. Among the symptoms of dehydration are sleepiness, confusion, fatigue and decrease in alertness - all of which can be reversed with increased in fluid intake.

3. Irritability or confusion

Mild dehydration can have an effect on brain function, which can deteriorate significantly as dehydration becomes more severe, causing confusion and incoherence.

In older adults and the elderly, their senses are less sensitive to thirst, thus they may be easy preys of dehydration. Confusion and even delirium are common symptoms for the dehydrated elderly.

Both children and adults have been found to perform tasks better when they are well hydrated. In one study, children who were given additional water to drink had improved short-term memory and performed better in school.

4. Heart palpitations

When the body is dehydrated, the heart will beat rapidly to compensate for the lack of fluids in the body. There is a lack of blood volume in the blood vessels and the body works doubly hard to supply enough blood to organs to maintain its functions. This is done by increasing the heart rate and pumping more blood quickly to the body.

While there are many reasons for heart palpitations, hydrating will take care of this particular reason.

5. Decrease in blood pressure

Dehydration can cause a drop in blood pressure, which might results in a feeling of light-headedness, weakness and tiredness. Dehydration lowers the volume of blood in the body, which lowers the pressure on artery walls. The light-headedness is due to the body working hard to pump blood to the brain when there is less fluid in the body.

A small drop in blood pressure can be remedied with drinking water, but severe dehydration can cause dangerously low blood pressure that requires medical attention. MIMS

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