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The Danger Of Dehydration (Part One)

Jun 05, 14 The Danger Of Dehydration (Part One)

So often, people forget about the importance of water in our daily lives. For some, this is because they just assume that they get enough water through the sodas and teas they drink while others just do not drink enough water at all, period. Since our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, it is obviously incredibly important to our health.

Health.com provides some insight into what causes dehydration. Many of us know the obvious: sunny day, exercise, not drinking enough. However, there are other causes for dehydration, some that are obvious, but others that may surprise readers. Let’s take a look at the 14 causes of dehydration according to the Health.com article.

1) Diabetes

One of the first symptoms of diabetes is an intense thirst, a thirst that is almost unquenchable. Dehydration from diabetes happens because the body tries to get rid of the excess glucose when sugar in the blood is too high. The primary way the body accomplishes this is via urine output. Those with diabetes need to keep an eye on their urination patterns as well as their thirst patterns as both of these cause dehydration.

2) Menstrual Cycle

A women’s menstrual cycle, also known as her period, can affect hydration levels. Specifically, the estrogen and progesterone levels impact whether a woman is hydrated or not. Plus, if a woman happens to have particularly heavy periods, all that blood loss affects hydration levels as well. Women should drink extra water during their period to help their bodies stay hydrated.

3) Prescription Meds

Medications have a variety of side effects, and one such side effect could be dehydration or at least affecting hydration levels. For instance, some meds act as diuretics (fancy medical term for increasing urination). If a med is a diuretic, it will naturally impact hydration levels if the person does not drink enough water. Moreover, if a prescription med lists diarrhea or vomiting as a side effect, both of these can lead to dehydration as well. People should pay attention to the potential side effects to ensure they know how much water to drink or increase but also to make sure that they know how their meds should work and affect them.

4) Low-carb Diets

Who knew that choosing a low-carb diet could impact a person’s hydration level? As Health.com says, “Carbohydrates are stored in your body right along with fluids. That’s why you drop a couple pounds of water weight when you eliminate carbs…Plus, since whole carbs such as oatmeal, whole grain pasta, and brown rice all soak up water during the cooking process, eating them can actually increase your hydration levels.” This is why it is always important to monitor our water intake especially when we diet. All diets have their impacts, and often that impact directly affects hydration.

5) Stress

It seems that anything bad that happens in our bodies happens because of stress. Stress is the worst. The absolute worst. As for its impact on hydration, when we are under stress, our adrenal glands release the stress hormones like cortisol. The more stress we experience, the more our glands work, and if we are under constant stress, we can exhaust our glands, which may cause adrenal insufficiency. Because our adrenal glands also produce the hormone aldosterone – the hormone that helps regulate the body’s levels of fluid and electrolytes – when our adrenal glands go into adrenal insufficiency, we are not receiving aldosterone thus our bodies go into dehydration and low electrolyte levels. Clearly, managing stress is good for our bodies in toto.

6) Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, aka IBS, often suffer also from dehydration due to some of the symptoms of IBS including chronic diarrhea and nausea. Health.com also identifies that often those with IBS use elimination diets to help them learn what foods trigger IBS, so they may be getting less water with these. Water can help IBS in that it keeps the body hydrated so that those who suffer can focus on the IBS not on the dehydration.

7) Workout Regimens

No matter how a person works out, if she sweats, she loses water and moves toward dehydration, which is why it is so important to stay hydrated during exercise as well as practice post-workout rehydration. Health.com suggests the following: “Weigh yourself immediately before and after your workout. For every pound you’ve lost (the goal is not to!), drink 16 to 20 ounces of water.”

Stay tuned for Part Two of this to learn the final seven causes of dehydration.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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About 

Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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