The dog days of summer are upon us. Temperatures are increasing, the air is so thick you could swim in it, and we’re all forgetting what it ever felt like to want to pull on a jacket. These days, a simple walk to the mailbox can leave beads of sweat on one’s face.
It’s at this time of year that everyone seems to remember the importance of staying hydrated. Warnings about dehydration and heatstroke abound on news channels and stories of student athletes being rushed to the emergency room pop up at least once a week.
But the truth is that the effects of dehydration aren’t always so obvious. There are much quieter, much more common effects of not drinking enough fluids that can easily sneak up on us. In fact, studies show that 75% of Americans are living in a state of chronic dehydration year round.
How much should we be drinking?
The Mayo Clinic recommends that men should drink at least 15.5 cups of fluid per day, and women 11.5—and that’s in a temperate climate. The numbers go up from there as the temperature increases.
As you may know, the human body is 50-70% water. This water is lost through sweat, urination, and even exhalation. Certain medications and conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes can lead to additional fluid loss as well. When the water isn’t replaced sufficiently, the body can’t function as intended, and things start to slow down.
The first symptoms you might notice are a slight headache, dry mouth, fatigue, or dizziness. These are usually pretty easily remedied by simply drinking some water. In extreme climates and vulnerable populations, however, this deficiency can quickly lead to more serious issues such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and seizures.
When dehydration, even partial dehydration, becomes chronic, individuals begin to risk damaging their internal organs. Many notice it first in their digestion; they may feel hungrier than usual, become constipated, or develop stomach pain and cramps.The body relies on water for moving food throughout the digestive tract, and without sufficient supply, can’t eliminate waste properly.
Insufficient fluid intake is particularly hard on the kidneys, which require water in order to filter the blood and excrete liquid waste as urine. Chronic dehydration can lead to buildups of minerals in the kidneys, resulting in painful kidney stones.
The Importance of Electrolytes
Keep in mind, though, that water itself isn’t the only component of hydration. The other is electrolytes. The body needs to retain a particular balance of the two to function properly. Electrolytes carry signals between cells, and when electrolytes are imbalanced, one may experience dizziness, nausea, and even seizures, which can be life-threatening.
You can replace electrolytes as needed through sports drinks and other electrolyte solutions. Look for those lower in sugar, however, because too much sugar can also put a strain on your kidneys.
While it’s certainly important to pay special attention to staying hydrated during these hot summer months, it’s crucial that we prioritize hydration throughout the year to maintain optimal health and body function.
If you want to make sure you’re hydrating with top quality water, try our AquaDots. These are small, vitality-restoring stickers you can place on coasters, on the bottom of water bottles, or on any sort of water dispenser you use. This simple tool is designed to refresh the natural energetic structure of water, removing imprinting from EMF and other sources. This gives your body the best chance to renew itself on a cellular level. AquaDots are easy to use and can have an incredibly positive impact on your health.