Living in the Southwest, many of us don’t drink enough water, instead opting for soda or other sugary drinks. But all things need water to survive, and without it your body does not function correctly and starts to break down.
Water makes up more than half of our body weight. Water carries oxygen to the cells in your body and supports the immune system, which helps fight off illnesses.
How much water do you need? In southern Arizona we need more water than most because of the heat and because we sweat more; even breathing uses up the water in our bodies. But don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, drink it throughout the day.
Dehydration is the lack of water in the body caused by inadequate intake of fluids. How do you know if you are dehydrated? You may feel lightheaded, dizzy or extremely tired, and your lips may be chapped and your mouth may be dry. Drink small amounts of water throughout the entire day; keep a glass of water near your bed because you wake up thirsty.
If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of becoming dehydrated and should pay attention to those symptoms as well as sunken eyes, a weak pulse and feeling confused. The same goes for elders and young children.
Water helps energize muscles and also speeds up metabolism, especially cold water. Why? Because your body must work a little extra to warm up the cold water. When exercising, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water before your workout and about another 8 ounces while working out.
Water also helps to digest food and get rid of waste in your body; it is vital for your kidneys. Every time you eat a meal, drink water as well. Drinking water keeps skin looking healthy, because when you are dehydrated, wrinkles get deeper. Drinking plenty of water also lowers stress.
Symptoms of Dehydration
According to the National Library of Medicine website, watch for the following signs.
Mild to moderate dehydration:
• Dry or sticky mouth
• Not urinating much; dark yellow urine
• Dry, cool skin
• Muscle cramps
• Not urinating, or very dark yellow or amber-colored urine
• Dry, shriveled skin
• Irritability or confusion
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Rapid heartbeat
• Breathing rapidly
• Sunken eyes
• Shock (lack of blood flow through the body)
• Unconsciousness or delirium
If you or someone you know is experiencing severe dehydration, call 911.