Have you ever paused to ponder the unique place water holds in our lives?
Unlike any other beverage, water is not just a matter of taste—it’s a vital necessity. Some liken the appreciation of water to acquiring a taste for fine beer or aged whiskey, yet water transcends mere preference to become the cornerstone of our health and existence.
In this enlightening blog, we delve into water’s critical role in sustaining life, nourishing our bodies, and maintaining our major systems. More importantly, we’ll also discover that many symptoms and signs of illnesses are preventable because the lack of proper water intake causes them.
Water: The Major Component of the Human Body
The human body is made up of 55-65% water. To stay hydrated, we need to replenish the water lost due to sweating, urinating, breathing, crying, and bowel movements on a daily basis. More extreme forms of water loss can occur due to vomiting, diarrhea, burns, kidney failure, bleeding, and the use of diuretics, which increase urination – a condition that certain medications can exacerbate. Additionally, undiagnosed conditions such as diabetes can lead to significant water loss. When water is lost, it can result in an imbalance of electrolytes, which are crucial for the body’s functioning.
Electrolytes and Their Importance
Electrolytes are essential minerals and salts critical in regulating chemical reactions and maintaining fluid balance inside and outside the body’s cells. These electrolytes are obtained through our diet and are indispensable for many vital bodily functions. The primary electrolytes include:
Maintaining a healthy balance of these electrolytes is vital to ensure the body functions optimally.
Note: For a more detailed explanation of these minerals, please read my blog article “Mineral Deficiencies: The Root Cause of Human Diseases,” where I cover minerals in greater depth. Click here to read the article.
Why the Body Needs Water
The body has a sophisticated system to help it maintain a normal volume of fluids. Euvolemic is the medical term used to express the normal volume of blood or fluids in the body. Maintaining bodily fluids at normal levels is crucial for efficient bodily functions, such as enhancing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart and muscles, helping your body work more efficiently.
Water is a crucial element that is vital in maintaining our overall health and is integral to every bodily organ’s function. It helps regulate our body temperature, stabilize our heart rate, carry essential nutrients and oxygen to our cells, lubricate our joints, and moisten tissues. Also, it aids digestion, prevents constipation, and flushes out toxins from the liver and kidneys and bacteria from the body, which helps maximize physical performance. Additionally, it contributes to healthy brain function, aids in weight loss, and improves skin health. It’s also worth noting that our blood comprises 90% water, so women must increase their water intake during menstruation.
How long Can Humans Survive Without Water?
It has been estimated that humans cannot survive without water for more than 3 to 4 days, although there are some rare documented cases where people have gone a few days longer.
Guinness World Record for Surviving Without Food and Water
Astonishingly, the longest recorded case of a person surviving without food and water is 18 days, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The feat occurred in Austria in 1979 when an 18-year-old man named Andreas Mihavecz was locked in a holding cell, and the officers at the facility forgot about him. He was discovered barely alive 18 days later. It was reported that he survived by licking condensation off the cell walls. Don’t believe us? Read about it here at guinesswordrecords.com.
We replace the water we lose by drinking fluids and eating water-rich foods. The water we need daily depends on our body size, metabolism, weather, and activity levels. A basic rule to follow is to consume half of your body weight in ounces daily. However, excessive sweating due to heat, exercise, or menstruation can cause us to need more water.
Regular Water Consumption
It is essential to consume water regularly as our bodies cannot store it. This helps make up for any loss of fluids and prevents dehydration. Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its usual functions due to losing more fluids than it gains. Beverages such as coffee, caffeine, and alcohol can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to severe health conditions, ranging from extreme thirst to confusion.
Health Consequences of Dehydration
Unfortunately, dehydration is very common, although mild in most cases. However, the symptoms of dehydration are often misunderstood, making people think they are sick when they need to hydrate. Mild dehydration can cause problems with blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. If not corrected, mild dehydration can become severe. Severe dehydration can cause weakness and confusion. In rare cases, extreme dehydration can lead to kidney damage, brain damage, and even death.
Recognizing the Signs of Dehydration
Knowing the signs of dehydration can save your life or your loved ones. Common signs of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth and lips, and dry skin. Some of the least known signs that people may confuse with sickness are:
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Muscle cramps
- Headaches and or confusion
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Loss of appetite but craving sugar
- Low blood pressure
- Decreased urine production or dark urine
- Fast or racing heartbeat
- Sleep issues
- Brain fog and the inability to focus
Dehydration and Confusion
Brain mass comprises 75% water and requires sufficient water intake for optimal neurotransmitter production, concentration, and overall brain function. Severe dehydration can cause blood vessels to shrink, leading to memory and cognitive issues.
Dehydration: Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
Your heart pumps around 2,000 gallons of blood daily. Should you become dehydrated, the amount of blood circulating through your body decreases. This makes your heart work harder, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. According to Rupa Health, in severe dehydration, the sensation of thirst may decrease, and blood pressure can fall, causing lightheadedness or fainting, particularly upon standing, a condition called orthostatic hypotension.
Dehydration and Digestion
Our digestive tract relies on water for cleansing, lubrication, and absorption of nutrients. After food is consumed, the small intestine absorbs about 90% of the ingested water, leaving only the remaining water for the large intestine. The large intestine is responsible for the leftover absorption of electrolytes, vitamins, and water from waste substances and then forms and eliminates feces from excess waste.
When the body is dehydrated, the large intestine or colon will soak up whatever fluids it can from the food you consume to help rehydrate the body, making feces too hard to pass and causing constipation.
Other Complications from Dehydration
We discussed how dehydration can impact your body. Other complications include:
Heat Injury and heat stroke usually occur in hot and humid conditions when the body cannot cool itself.
Seizures can occur from severe electrolyte imbalance, particularly when the body experiences low sodium and potassium levels.
Low blood volume shock or hypovolemic shock occurs when dehydration is so severe that there is an insufficient amount of blood volume to circulate throughout the body and maintain normal blood pressure.
Treatment for dehydration depends on severity. Mild dehydration can be resolved with electrolytes like coconut water. More severe cases may require medical attention and IV fluids to replenish the loss of water and fluids. As with anything, the best treatment is prevention. Stay hydrated by sipping on water all day. Remember to consume at least half your weight in ounces daily. Also, remember drinking more fluids during extreme physical exertion is essential.
Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining health. If you ever feel a little off or feel something isn’t right regarding your health, consider increasing your water intake as a first step. There is much research to back up the fact that many symptoms of feeling ill are due to dehydration.
I hope this article has been beneficial. Stay hydrated, my friends, and as always, stay healthy.