We have all suffered from dehydration in some form or other. Sometimes our dehydration is temporary and at other times it can be more permanent. So what are the best treatments for dehydration and what is best for you? Here I hope to give you a few ideas to help you decide what is best for you either in the short or the long term.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration is when the body loses water and salts that are essential for our body to function efficiently.
Dehydration usually occurs when your body uses more fluid than it takes in. This can happen at any point during the day or for various reasons such as illness.
I generally drink plenty of water daily but I know that if I have a moment of relapse that my body simply does not like it. I have found this at times after I have exercised especially out on my bike. Other times this can happen to me is if I am having a day of running around and so busy that I simply forget to drink water.
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
Often we do not pay much attention to our bodies that we do not even know that we are in fact dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of 60% to 70% of water and quite often we do not believe that this needs to be replenished. One thing that spurs me on to drink plenty of water is that I truly believe it keeps you young. A lot of my older clients believe that they do not need water and I struggle to get them to drink as it is something that they have never done. Here are a few signs to recognise in yourself to see if you are in fact dehydrated:
When you pee it is smelly and dark yellow in colour (the only time this is OK is first thing in the morning)
Dizziness or light-headed
Tired and lack concentration
Dryness in the mouth, lips and sometimes eyes
Quite often you will not pee enough throughout the day (should be regular and over minimum of four times)
Dehydration can come in many forms.
Mild Dehydration – When your body has lost less than 5% of your body fluid.
Moderate Dehydration – Occurs when you have lost between 5% to 10% body fluid.
Severe Dehydration – Between 10% to 15% of fluid loss and this can be dangerous for your body. Our bodies can last an average of three weeks without food but only about three days without water.
If your body becomes severely dehydrated it can go into what is known as “Hypovolemic Shock” which is life threatening and occurs if your body loses over 20% of its body fluid. This condition can lead to sever organ failure as your heart does not have enough blood to reach the vital organs and requires immediate emergency attention. Older adults and young children can be more susceptible to this condition especially if they have had a huge amount of blood loss rapidly. Example: serious cut, wound, severe burns, excessive sweating or internal bleeding. The patient might also have pale, cool, clammy skin with a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing usually associated with a type of shock.
Why does dehydration occur?
As I mentioned briefly a little earlier, dehydration can occur for many reasons and not all severe. Every individual is different but here are a few examples of why dehydration might occur.
Heatstroke (too long in the sunshine)
Too much alcohol or caffeine
Excessive Diarrhoea or Vomiting
Appetite loss associated with a long term illness
High Temperature in excess of 38 degrees
Medication that causes your body to pee a lot (diuretic)
Other diseases such as (lungs, kidney, adrenal glands)
Some of these which are more common you might recognise in yourself at different times. I know that for me I have suffered with dehydration with exercise and I know I have sometimes suffered heatstroke especially when traveling to a foreign country starting out on my holiday and not having enough access to water and being in the sunshine for too long. Sometimes I have also suffered on a night out and drinking too much alcohol without drinking water. This has also been true with caffeine especially during meetings where once again I have drunk too much coffee and not looked at my water intake as I should have done throughout the day.
The Best Treatment For Dehydration
Firstly, it is important to understand why your hydration has occurred and not at its peak. Think about why this dehydration might exists and how regularly this has happened. Then think about what you can do to address this situation. Here are the best solutions to prevent dehydration.
Try to drink enough water during the day. You will know when you are drinking enough because your pee will be clear. When I am drinking alcohol or black coffee then I always ensure I have had enough water prior to my drinks. I will then accompany any alcoholic or caffeine beverage with water. I generally always start my day with 750 ml of water and only go to bed after drinking feeling hydrated. During the day I drink little and often to ensure I am taking on board the necessary fluids. My average intake of water is approximately 4 to 5 litres which does not include the water I drink during exercising.
Important information to note, is that if you believe that you are not drinking enough water please start to increase your intake of water gradually. Yes, you will notice that you are peeing more often especially as your body adjusts. However, I always believe that this is just your bodies way of cleansing itself which is perfectly natural.
If your reasons for dehydration are due to an illness or you have experienced excessive vomiting, diarrhoea or sweating then this is a time when you really need water. Sometimes this is the last thing you want to do so you might find that it is better to drink small sips of water to get your body over that sick feeling first. As soon as you feel better then drink as normal. Please ensure that you drink more water when you feel that you are at a greater risk of dehydration.
Points to remember:
1. Our bodies are made up of 60% to 70% water
2. Peeing is our bodies natural way of cleansing
3. Replacing our water intake keeps us young
4. Our bodies hydration is a necessity for survival