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5 ways to know you're dehydrated and why it even matters

Drink up!
Jan 26th 2019, 3:00 PM 11,274 0

ARE WE SICK of the ‘new year, new me’ BS yet?

Look, we’re two weeks into the new year and while the optimism and motivation you had back on January 1 might have lessened a little, don’t beat yourself up about it.

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Instead, try implementing one change that is manageable and one of the best changes you can make is the amount of water you’re consuming.

Chances are, you’re not getting enough H2O into your system each day and that’s likely having a knock-on effect on your entire body.

Water helps our bodies regulate temperature, transport nutrients and keep our joints in good working order, it also works wonders for our skin and hair as well as helping us get a better night’s sleep.

But how are you to know if you’re not sufficiently hydrated?

Well, according to the woman behind The Food Medic, Dr Hazel Wallace, there are five simple ways to work out whether or not you’re dehydrated.

dr hazel wallace Source: The Food Medic/Instagram

Here are the things you should be looking out for.


1. Dark coloured urine

“When we are dehydrated, sensory detectors in the hypothalamus of our brain detect that there is less fluid in our body by the concentration of the blood and triggers a thirst signal,” Dr Hazel says.  

“This causes the release of a hormone called ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) that signals to the kidneys to conserve water instead of passing it out as urine, which causes concentrated urine to be produced that is dark in colour.”

“The single best, and fastest, way of checking how hydrated you are is to check the colour of your urine. It should be pale or clear if you are sufficiently hydrated.”


2. Feeling light-headed

Our bodies' electrolytes can become unbalanced if we’re not drinking enough water. This can cause us to feel irritable, confused and nauseated.

“The best way to treat mild to moderate dehydration, that occurs after sickness, is to drink lots of fluids; ideally water.

“You can also use oral rehydration sachets which are specially formulated to rehydrate the body after fluid loss by replacing the lost electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium.”


3. Poor skin turgor

It’s an old rule of thumb that we go back to time and time again. If you’re keeping hydrated, your skin should bounce back to form after you pinch it.

Try it for yourself - if the skin takes a little longer to settle, your skin is thirsty.

“In climates like the UK, it is recommended that you drink 1.2 litres of water each day, which is equivalent to 6 to 8 glasses.

“You may also need to drink more while exercising, particularly if you’re sweating a lot, and it's especially important to keep well hydrated if you're exercising in warm conditions.

“Instead of worrying about amounts in litres, the advice is to use your thirst as a guide when it comes to staying hydrated during exercise.”


4. Children crying without tears

You can also spot the signs of dehydration in children from their crying.

“Depending on their age, children can also show similar signs of dehydration to adults.

“Babies and infants are particularly at risk of dehydration and there are certain symptoms to look out for, including rapid breathing, dry mouth, decreased urine output or fewer wetter nappies and drowsiness.

“Dehydrated babies may also have a sunken soft spot on their head. If young children are displaying any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP immediately.”


5. High heart rate and low blood pressure

Without proper hydration, your blood becomes a little thicker, making it harder for it to be pumped around the body leading to an increased heart rate.

“When the body is dehydrated the fluid level in our body drops and we experience a drop in blood pressure.

“To compensate our heart rate increases in order to pump blood around the body to vital organs”

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Orlaith Condon


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