Feeling thirsty? Drink up! The topic for today is dehydration and the miracle solution of water. Did you know that your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.
Have you had enough water today?
Water is not just for fun and games. Water is serious business. It can help us in many important and vital ways:
- Prevent Dehydration
- Energize Muscles
- Maintain Healthy Skin
- Remove Toxins
- Maintain Healthy Bowels
- Keep Memory Sharp
- Maintain Blood Volume
- Cool Down Body
- Aid in Digestion
So how do we know if we are dehydrated?
What is dehydration? Dehydration is a condition in which the body looses too much water. This can occur as a result of vomiting, diarrhea, and/or heavy or excessive overheating Dehydration can also occur when a person stops their intake of fluids or stops eating foods high in water content and when more fluid is lost from the body than is taken in. Some foods that contain a high percentage of water include: iceberg lettuce – 96%, raw cantaloupe – 90% and cooked squash – 90%. Drinking adequate amounts of water is critical for us to remain healthy and alive.
About five hundred children under the age of five die every year of dehydration in the United States. About 2.2 million children worldwide die from dehydration due to diarrhea or diarrhoea. According to recent statistics from UNICEF:
“Diarrhea remains one of the leading causes of death among children under five globally. Out of the estimated 6.9 million child deaths, 11 per cent of deaths are due to diarrhea. It kills more children than AIDS and malaria and measles combined.”
Who is at high risk?
Parents of children with diarrhea often are unaware of the seriousness of dehydration in children and the rapid deterioration that can occur when they do not have adequate water.
The elderly are also at high risk for dehydration because they are less likely to drink when they become dehydrated. This is often due to dementia and the inability to determine when and if they are thirsty. People confined to wheelchairs are often unable to get up to get water (e.g. people in nursing home and hospital patients) and more likely to develop chronic dehydration.
Here are some of the symptoms of dehydration, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
- Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
- Few or no tears when crying
- Dry skin
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- Lack of sweating
- Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
- Sunken eyes
- Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
- In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- No tears when crying
- In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Have you had enough water today?
Best wishes for a “hydrated” happy day!
More helpful information
Mayo Clinic Dehydration Symptoms
Jean Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University, is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. All photos used in this article are by www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com
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