Dehydrating is a problem, especially in the summer. We get more active and the heat causes us to loose more water than in wintertime. Those who work out doors or whose job requires car travel, visiting clients or making sales calls, can be even more prone to dehydration than others who remain indoors all day. In either case, we all need to be aware of how much fluid we take in each day and how much we may be loosing.
With fluid loss come other losses as well. Many vital nutrients, especially electrolytes, are lost along with water. These nutrients drive many vital functions in our bodies and without them, systems don’t function properly or may begin to shut down completely. Serious electrolyte disturbances, such as dehydration and overhydration, may lead to cardiac and neurological complications and, unless they are rapidly resolved, will result in a medical emergency. Untreated dehydration generally results in delirium, unconsciousness, swelling of the tongue and, in extreme cases, death.
Symptoms of Dehydration can include:
☼ Loss of blood pressure
☼ Dizziness and fainting
Symptoms of Dehydration become noticeable after 2% of one’s normal water volume has been lost. Initially, there is thirst and discomfort, possibly along with loss of appetite and dry skin. Constipation may also be a problem.
Athletes at this stage may suffer a loss of performance of up to 30% and experience flushing, low endurance, rapid heart rates, elevated body temperatures, and rapid onset of fatigue.
Other common symptoms:
At 5 – 6% dehydration groggy, sleepy, headaches, nausea, tingling in the limbs
At 10 – 15% fluid loss spastic muscles, shriveled skin, dim vision, reduced, maybe painful urination, delirium
Losses greater than 15% usually fatal
Can drinking water alone be enough? Make sure you are getting enough fluid replacement, whether you are an athlete or not.
If you know elderly individuals, please encourage extra fluid intake. They are susceptible to death by dehydration, especially when combined with overheating situations.
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