Your skin, breath, and muscles might indicate that your body lacks water.
When the body lacks water and different liquids to work normally, it can prompt seizures, blood clumps, and other possibly deadly problems. This condition is known as dehydration.
Researches have demonstrated that even low dehydration negatively affects our energy and mood. This is the reason why it’s so essential to detect dehydration in its early stages, although the symptoms, except for fatigue and thirst, aren’t so obvious.
We give you 6 surprising pointers that you may be dehydrated.
1. Bad breath
If your body suffers from chronic dehydration, it won’t produce enough saliva, which contains anti-bacterial properties. Consequently, there will be overgrowing of bacteria resulting in bad breath, according to John Higgins, MD, chief of cardiology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, and associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas in Houston.
2. Dry skin
Contrary on the popular belief that dehydrated people are very sweaty, Dr. Higgins explains that the latter stages of dehydration cause dizziness and lack of blood volume, resulting in extremely dry skin. Moreover, the dry skin can be accompanied by flushing because of the inability of skin to evaporate properly. He adds that people can get dehydrated even in cooler climates or seasons, although with milder symptoms.
3. Muscle cramps
Higgins says that as your body goes hotter, the chances of muscle cramps increase, as a result of the heat effect on them. Moreover, muscle cramps can be caused by changes in potassium, sodium, and electrolytes.
4. Fever and chills
Although it might be surprising for you, dehydration can cause feeling fever or chills symptoms. Since fever can sometimes be dangerous, ask for a medical help in case it rises more than 101°F.
5. Food cravings, especially for sweets
During dehydration, your body will most probably crave for food, especially for sweets. Higgins explains this strange symptom as a result of the difficulty of some organs such as the liver, to get the needed amounts of water required for glycogen and other compounds’ releasing. Although you might crave for any food, people usually crave for sweets since it’ll be difficult for the body to produce glycogen.
Do you have cravings for something sweet? Grab some fruit or vegetable as they contain a lot of water, which will help you remain hydrated, reports Johannah Sakimura, nutrition expert and Everyday Health columnist. Strawberries, cucumber, cantaloupe, zucchini, leafy greens, watermelon, and bell peppers contain more than 90% water.
Higgins explains that our brain is surrounded with fluid sack which prevents it from slamming into the skull. In case this fluid sack is running low as a result of dehydration, our brain will bump against the skull resulting in headaches.
Few beverages that can cause dehydration are energy drinks, alcohol, and caffeine.
How to See If You Are Dehydrated?
If these 6 symptoms are not enough for you to decide if you are dehydrated, here are 2 tests you can do.
Skin test- with the help of two of your fingers, pull the skin on the back of your hand, between the starting point of your fingers and the place where your watch is, in the height of ½ to one centimeter and let it go. If the skin goes back to the normal position you are alright, but if it springs back slowly, there’s a chance of you being dehydrated.
Urine test- Urine is supposed to be mostly clear and lightly yellow if you are well hydrated, according to Higgins. If you notice its color changes to yellow, it means your body is around 3% dehydrated. If the color changes to chardonnay, your body is around 5% dehydrated. And if it changes to orange, your body is more than 5% dehydrated, which is dangerous for your health.
Advices for Staying Hydrated by Sakimura and Higgins
If you have a bottle of water next to you, you will often find yourself sipping it although not realizing it.
If you’re not a fan of plain water, spice it up with chunks of fruit, or splash of fruit juice. Another option is to get naturally flavored seltzers free from calories.
Drink unsweetened flavored teas with different tastes. During hot days you can add lots of ice in your tea for a cooling drink, and during nights drink a mug of chamomile or hot peppermint tea.
Change your everyday snacks, from crackers, chips, and pretzels which contain low water amounts, with fresh or frozen fruit, healthy smoothies, yogurt, vegetable, or celery with peanut butter.
Drink water while you eat to pace your eating, and eat more slowly and to stay well hydrated.
Avoid extreme temperatures. Ice water in the stomach compresses the arteries which help with absorption of the water. If you notice water swishing in your stomach, then the water is still not warmed up and not absorbed. That’s why you should go for cooler drinks and room temperature.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the total consumption of water gained from beverages and food should be about 12 cups ( or 2.7 liters) a day for women, and about 15 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men.