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What Happens to the Body When it Becomes Dehydrated: The Scary Truths

Ever since we were little, our parents have kept on reminding us that we should drink lots and lots of water. As children, we did not see any point in consuming a tasteless liquid. But even as adults, we tend to be apathetic towards water consumption. But what happens to the body when it becomes dehydrated?

A lot of us think that dehydration does not sound terrifying at all. We are all familiar with the feeling of thirst, right? A little sip of water or juice here and a few gulps of caffeinated drinks give us the satisfaction we need. So, why drink water?

As much as many of us hate drinking water, it is not only about eliminating our thirst. In reality, that dry feeling you feel in your mouth is not only dehydration; it is so much more. In fact, there are a lot of internal changes in our body that we are not aware of when we get dehydrated.

In this article, we are going to talk about what happens to the body when it becomes dehydrated. Additionally, we are also going to discuss the different causes of dehydration. Finally, we will go through some steps on how to properly hydrate our bodies. And maybe, by the end of this article, you might have found a better appreciation for water.

Feeling drowsy? You might be dehydrated, read on to find out why.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is not actually lack of water in the body. Although it is a big aspect of this condition, it is more than just that. It is when your body loses too much water compared to the amount of water that is coming in.

With that said, notice that the key phrase is “losing too much water”, which means that our body normally loses water. Then again, it also means that it is not just about taking in water, but also about maintaining water loss.

As most of us know, our bodies are made up of two-thirds water. It is essential for our different body systems because water is their medium. This is one of the reasons why when you get hospitalized, the first thing that the nurses do is to give you an IVF therapy, which stands for Intravenous Fluid Regulation. In this way, your body will have a boost of water that is delivered straight to the bloodstream.

What are the Causes of Dehydration?

As we have discussed previously, it is normal for our bodies to lose water. Here are some of the most cases in which we expel water from our body.

  • Sweating
  • Breathing
  • Urinating
  • Pooping
  • Crying
  • Saliva

Other cases that include other factors are:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea

What Happens to the Body When it Becomes Dehydrated?

For the sake of this article, we are going to divide the discussion in two. First, we have the external symptoms and the second one are the internal effects.

External Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Your mouth gets dry as well as your throat.
  • You might get bad breath.
  • Your eyes get dry.
  • The color of your nails change.
  • Your skin will look dull and dry.
  • You feel sleepy.
  • You might suffer from migraines or headaches.
  • You will feel light-headed or dizzy.
  • It will be hard to move your bowels.
  • It may be hard to urinate.
  • You may experience muscle cramps.

Internal Effects of Dehydration

  • The body cannot control its internal temperature.

Your body regulates its temperature based on your current activity. If you are dehydrated, your body cannot properly adjust to your environment and activity level. As such, you will not have your cool-down mechanism.

  • You get irritated easily.

Water also helps in the production of hormones that affect your mood. Therefore, a lack of water in your system would cause you to feel irritated and frustrated about even the smallest things.

  • The brain gets smaller.

As crazy as it may sound, there is scientific evidence that states dehydration helps with the shrinking of brain tissue.

  • You get increased risk of developing heart problems.

When there is not enough water in your system, your body takes water from the bloodstream to help in other bodily functions such as digestion. This leads to blood thickening, which makes it hard for the heart to pump out blood normally.

Unfortunately, this can be fatal for people who have underlying heart conditions as it can lead to stroke or a heart attack.

  • You will have imbalanced electrolytes.

Electrolytes help carry out electrical signals from one cell to another. With fewer electrolytes, you are prone to seizures.

  • Kidney problems

When there is not much water in your system, your kidneys start to retain whatever water it has. As a result, you urinate less frequently, which leads to the formation of kidney stones.

  • Liver problems

Lack of water in the body leads to toxins not being properly flushed out. Consequently, this will cause a build-up of waste in your body, which may then develop into liver problems.

  • Constipation

Our stool is also composed of water. Therefore, if there is lack of it, you cannot move your bowels properly. Additionally, forcing it to come out uses up energy that in turn, uses up water, leading you to experience fatigue more.

  • Shutting down of body systems

In severe dehydration, your systems just give out, and you die. We know, scary stuff. Remember, if you are feeling any symptoms of dehydration, head to the ER immediately.

How Do You Prevent Dehydration?

The simple answer is to drink water consistently. Oh, and no, soda does not count. Go for just plain water. Not even energy drinks can substitute the effect of water in our bodies.

At the same time, you can also consume food that has high water content such as watermelon, melon, spinach, eggplant, and many more.

Yet another effective way to prevent dehydration is to drink water after an intense activity such as running and swimming. After munching on a salty or protein-rich meal, it is also highly advised that you follow it up with two glasses of water.

The same goes for drinking coffee. In fact, it is recommended to drink two cups water for every cup of coffee that you drink. While you can still lavish in your carbonated or sugary drinks, you might want to do your body a favor by washing it all down with good old water.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know the scary truths behind dehydration, which, as you have learned, can lead to irreparable damage and even death. Even though it is not proven that drinking eight to 10 glasses of water is the right amount, taking that much will surely help your body to function properly.

Additionally, knowing the effect of dehydration can even spark a lifestyle change on your part. You can start small, such as by pairing water with every meal instead of soda. It will also help if you can monitor your water intake.

By doing so, you are encouraged to drink more water because it is like you are accomplishing a goal. Not only are you helping your body to function better, but you will realize that your mood will be brighter and you will be happier.

Christine Adorno
The Wired Runner