What Dehydration Does To Your Body: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention Tips

Dehydration can result in muscle spasms, increased breathing rate, and even delirium.

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahUpdated at: Feb 22, 2022 16:23 IST
What Dehydration Does To Your Body: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention Tips

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About 60% of the human body is composed of water. Most of us are advised to drink enough water to flush out toxins from our bodies and keep our kidneys running. However, that’s not its only role. The water in our bloodstream transports nutrients to the vital organs. It helps our body in regulating temperature. Water also serves as a shock absorber for the brain and spine and lubricates joints. Hence, the functions of water in the body are multi-fold, and no alternative can replace it. But what if your body runs deficient in water? What are the signs of dehydration? What are the causes? And, how can one prevent it? For answers to these questions, Onlymyhealth spoke to Kavita Devgan, a nutritionist and the author of the book ‘The Don’t Diet Plan’

Dehydration Causes

Not drinking enough water, or fluids, is the simplest cause behind dehydration. However, there can be other reasons as well, according to the US National Library of Medicine, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Urinating frequently, due to an illness or medication
  • Sweating excessively, such as when out during hot weather

Symptoms Of Dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration can be many

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

“Water is taken for granted quite often,” said nutritionist Kavita Devgan. It generally happens during cold months. According to her, the regular symptoms of dehydration do not usually surface, leading unfortunately to the setting of deeper and bigger symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Delirium

However, some subtle signs can help you identify that your body is craving water:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark-coloured urine
  • Peeing or sweating less than normal
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue

Effect Of Dehydration

Dehydration can have harmful consequences

(Photo Credit: Freepik)

As stated above, dehydration can cause muscle spasms, an increase in breathing rate, and even delirium, which is an acute disorder characterised by confused thinking and lack of awareness of the surrounding.

Other than these, dehydration can also result in the following, according to the US National Library of Medicine:

  • Fainting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Confusion

How To Prevent Dehydration?

The water around us and inside us is crucial for our existence. “Whatever the outside temperature is, whether you feel thirsty and sweaty or not, the body needs water,” the nutritionist said. Whether it is summer or winter, its role in our bodies remains the same, she added. Hence, you must consume the requisite amount of water daily. About 2 to 3 litres of water in a day is generally recommended. Here are some tips that can help you stay hydrated in every season:

  • Whether thirsty or not, make it a point to sip water throughout the day.
  • Similarly, take water breaks throughout the day.
  • Always carry a water bottle with you when traveling.
  • Have a glass of water with meals.
  • Never say no to someone offering water. Just gulp it as a bonus. 

Other than these, if you find it difficult to drink normal water, you can adjust its temperature to whatever suits you. Another trick is to make it flavourful by adding lemon, honey, sauf (fennel seeds), ajwain (carom seeds), cucumber, mint, or anything you like. It might help you with drinking the requisite amount of water.

(With inputs from Kavita Devgan, a nutritionist and the author of the book ‘The Don’t Diet Plan’)

Photo Credit: Freepik