6 Signs You May Be Severely Dehydrated
With up to 75 percent of your body made up of water, it’s no wonder that when the proper balance is thrown off, you’ll feel the effects.It’s normal to lose water daily through routine bodily functions–such as sweating, urination and breathing–but certain factors accelerate the process, including warm temperatures, physical activity, fever, or gastrointestinal distress. When your water loss exceeds your intake, dehydration sets in.
Dehydration ranges from a mild problem to a life-threatening condition, and can be more dangerous for babies, small children and elderly persons.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few telltale signs of mild to moderate dehydration.
3 Signs You Might be Dehydrated
1. Feeling of thirst and dry mouth
2. Decreased urine output
3. Headache or lightheadedness, dizziness
At this stage, the problem is easily corrected by consuming frequent, small amounts of water or clear fluids, such as oral rehydration solutions or sports drinks (but be sure to look for one’s with no added sugar or chemicals).
If proper fluid replenishment doesn’t occur, dehydration becomes much more severe.
6 Signs You May be Severely Dehydrated
1. Little to no urination, any urine is darker and concentrated
2. Muscle cramps
3. Nausea, vomiting, feeling of weakness
4. Heart palpitations
5. Loss of skin elasticity – doesn’t rebound quickly from a pinch
6. Sunken eyes
Another way to determine whether or not you’re properly hydrated? Just take a look!
While fluid replacement should be attempted with small, frequent amounts of clear fluids, consult your doctor if severe symptoms are present, as oral rehydration may not suffice. Also seek medical direction if vomiting and diarrhea are present, as these conditions contribute to the loss of water. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if a dehydrated individual acts confused, lethargic, or loses consciousness.
The best way to fend of dehydration is to make water a regular part of your daily diet, both between and during meals. The age-old advice about consuming eight glasses of water a day is a good rule of thumb, but don’t put too much weight on it. According to the Institute of Medicine, most people can adequately stay hydrated by letting thirst be their guide. They offer a general recommendation for women of approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water, and for men, an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily). But for optimum health, your water intake should equal half your body weight in ounces.