We’ve all been in this situation: you casually mention that you have a headache or that your stomach is upset. Within seconds, someone will inevitably ask “ how much water have you had today?” Everyone seems to be aware that the effects of dehydration on the body are detrimental. Drinking 8 glasses of H2O a day is one of the first health habits kids are taught, and it has become heavily ingrained in most of our minds. Despite this, few people actually take this advice to heart. Although maybe a little too broadly prescribed by your resident quasi-doctor, the wellness experts at Premier Therapy Solutions in Boca Raton, FL can confirm that adequately hydrating yourself is one of the best and simplest habits you can adopt to improve your overall health.
You are probably screaming “I know!” at the screen as we regurgitate the same advice that nearly every family member, friend, TV doctor, and online article has already given. While you may be tired of being recommended sleep and water for almost any malady you mention, there is a good reason that this idea is so pervasive. Let’s look at the science behind this ubiquitous idea.
The first thing we can do to unpack the old 8 glasses a day adage is realize that it is not entirely true. 8 glasses is a somewhat arbitrary number created to give the public a concrete goal for daily water intake. It sounds much better than “drink a good amount of water each day and listen to your body” does, but depending on your eating habits and daily physical exertion, you may need to drink more or less. Although, for a typical American, drinking 8 glasses a day should be enough to keep you healthy. But what happens when we do begin to ignore our body’s need for water? Well, many things begin to happen internally and we refer to these changes as dehydration.
What Happens When We Dehydrate?
Dehydration is measured in the percent of body weight lost. Research has shown that even a 2% loss already begins to reduce cognitive performance in a variety of areas and a 2012 study showed that nearly 55% of participants were regularly dehydrated. Thirst is the body’s distress signal in response to dehydration. Most people do not see mild thirst as a cause for concern, but if we look at what is going on at a cellular level it is easier to see why insufficient hydration should be addressed as quickly as possible.
There are multiple types of dehydration. In most cases, when a person begins to dehydrate, the balance of salts and water in and around your cells is thrown off. The natural process of osmosis occurs and causes water to either flow into or out of the cell to restore this balance. 70% of a cell is composed of water, and most of the cell’s vital functions rely on it in some way or another. It is believed that cognitive functions begin to decline due to the reduction of fluids in and around the tissues of your brain. This is why one of the most common symptoms of dehydration is fogginess, trouble concentrating, and memory loss.
If you are experiencing the effects of dehydration due to excessive vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever, you may need to seek out medical help. In some cases, no matter how diligent you are about taking in water, your body will lose it too quickly and intravenous hydration methods may need to be employed. Luckily, dehydration is easy to remedy in most cases. If your dehydration is caused by overexertion in the sun and lack of water intake, replenishing your body’s stores of electrolytes and water over the course of a couple of hours to a day should be enough to get you back to normal.
Keeping your body properly hydrated is a great first step to total-body health, but it is just one piece of the puzzle. If you are interested in addressing all aspects of your wellbeing, you may consider a Lifestyle Assessment from Premier Therapy Solutions. Our experts will craft and guide you through a comprehensive wellness plan formulated specifically for you based on your habits, lifestyle, and body. Contact us today to inquire about our many services and see how Premier Therapy can help set you on a path to living your life to the fullest!