Last updated on January 31st, 2019
I have read that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and the lack of hydration is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. This is a problem that most people don’t realize — sometimes mistaking what they think are hunger pangs for what is actually thirst while older people often do not recognize that they’re thirsty.
I’ve also read that losing just 2% of your body weight in water compromises overall judgment by 25% and severely limits physical endurance. And since water weighs 8-pounds per gallon, it doesn’t take much to lose 2% or to be ‘chronically low’.
Here’s a list of ways that the body loses water as we become dehydrated – and symptoms:
How We Become Dehydrated
Physical activity and exertion / sweating
Illness / fever
Hot temperatures by way of sunlight / other
Excessively high humidity or low humidity
Breathing through the mouth more than the nose
High protein, fat, and sodium diet
Early Signs & Symptoms Of Dehydration
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Nausea / loss of appetite
Dry mouth, cracked lips
Mild disorientation and confusion
Fatigue / lethargy
Decreased urine output / dark colored urine
A simple way of telling that you’ve become dehydrated (even if you do not believe that you are) is dark-colored urine. The best way to know if you have enough water in your body is the color of your urine. Ideally it should be clear, with little or no color at all.
Here’s a color chart to illustrate level of dehydration:
A person who is doing nothing, at rest, loses more than half a gallon of water in a day. Once you add in exertion, climate, and other factors, this number goes much higher…
For every quart of sweat that escapes your body, your heart rate increases by about 8 beats per minute and your system becomes more stressed.
It is easy to overlook the need to drink enough water and to remain optimally hydrated. Older people in particular lose some of their sense of thirst as they age.
Waiting for a ‘cue’ of thirst to trigger your motivation to drink water is already too late. When you first ‘feel’ thirst, you are already down more than a quart. A common problem is that once you get the urge to drink, it is often quenched by only a few mouthfuls, meaning that you are still ‘low’ and continue to go ‘lower’. How often do you actually drink an entire quart of water when you feel thirsty? See what I mean?
The human brain is 75% water, and human blood is 83% water! So don’t let dehydration impair your judgment and physiology. Water is number one when it comes to survival (depending upon other circumstances of course). Drink enough of it. Store it. Know how to get it. Know how to purify it. Don’t waste it if it’s scarce.