Avoiding Dehydration: One of our Body’s Worst Enemies
By Cora Ciaramello
L.E., C.P.E., LMT Aesthetician
Just listening to weather reports these days is enough to make a person feel dehydrated – or at least, thirsty.
With summer only half over in our hemisphere, the World Meteorological Organization is projecting that this past July may have been the warmest month ever.
Now, while summer months may bring more awareness to the issue of dehydration, it needs to be a year-round concern; especially since thirst is not always a reliable indicator of our need for water.
Adequate water intake is not only necessary to keep dehydration at bay, it is absolutely life sustaining.
We’ve probably all learned that water accounts for up to 60 percent of the human body. What we might not have learned, however, is how essential water is to our vital organs.
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry: the brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water, the lungs are about 83 percent water, the kidneys, 79 percent water, and the skin, 64 percent water. Even muscles and bones are watery, with muscles at 79 percent and bones at 31 percent water.
With our critical organs and body parts dependent on water to function properly – or to function at all – it is crucial to drink an adequate amount of water daily throughout the year.
Becoming dehydrated, says wellness expert Dr. Joseph Mercola (D.O., Ph.D.) can result in “drastic changes in your body.” He adds that research has shown “even mild dehydration can decrease brain tissue fluid, which can result in changes in brain volume.”
Mercola notes that losing 1-2 percent of a body’s entire water content can cause thirstiness, a sign that water needs to be replenished. He adds that while mild dehydration is an easy fix, extreme dehydration can be life threatening and may need medical attention.
To avoid dehydration, it is important to recognize its signs and symptoms, which differ by age. In adults, one or more of the following occur.
Decreased urine output
Fatigue, tired, sleepy
Infants and children will display one or more of the following.
Dry tongue and lips, cracked lips.
little or no urine for eight hours.
cold or dry skin.
sunken eyes or sunken soft spot on the head (for babies)
low energy levels.
no tears when crying.
How Much H2O is Enough?
The amount of water we need to consume each day does vary, however, depending on gender; lifestyle, as in active athlete compared with an occasional exerciser; and location, as in Arizona compared with, say, New Jersey.
In general, it is recommended an adult male consume about 3.2 quarts daily, while 2.3 quarts daily is recommended for adult females.
It is important to note that liquid is not the only means of fulfilling a body’s daily water requirement. Fruits and vegetables are especially good sources of water and eating them can satisfy bodily water requirements.
And speaking of liquids, highly touted “sports drinks” do not necessarily keep the average body hydrated, according to Dr. Mercola, who notes that these drinks “were created for high-performance athletes who deplete their water stores quickly, not for the average person looking to address thirst issues.”
He adds that downing too many of these drinks, which may be loaded with sugar and a high volume of citric acid “may even be detrimental” to the average person’s health.
And it should go without saying – but we’ll say it anyway – soda, processed fruit juices and fruit punches, as well as high-energy drinks are unhealthy to begin with and do not properly hydrate according to the body’s need for water.
Indeed, water is the safest, most practical and probably most economical remedy for safeguarding against dehydration. So drink up, everyone. Cheers!
Changes Spa & Aesthetics
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
To make an appointment, call 973-588-3668; or book online here @ChangesSkin.com.