Dehydration!

Summer is now here… as we approach the “heat of the summer” you should be aware of your need for fluids.  If you are exercising, spending time in the sun, or are under the weather, you can more easily become dehydrated.  Once dehydration starts your body begins to shut down, except for vital functions.  Luckily the body gives us symptoms to prevent dehydration from happening.

dehydration

The body will react to the need for water by giving of signs that you should recognize. The initial signs and symptoms of mild dehydration, in adults, start to appear when a person has lost approximately 2% of their total fluid.  Some of these symptoms are:

  • Dry lips and thirst
  • Dry, flushing , skin
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness

 

If the dehydration continues, approaching 5% of water loss, more significant symptoms occur such as:

  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Increased body temperature
  • Decreased sweating and urination
  • Extreme fatigue and muscle cramping
  • Severe headache and nausea

As the body approaches 10% fluid loss, it is a medical emergency and you must seek IMMEDIATE help.  Symptoms of this level of dehydration are:

  • Decreased vision and confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Chest/abdominal pain
  • Unconsciousness

We don’t have a water gauge to determine how dehydrated our body is but our body does provide us some indication of our level of hydration.  The best indicator is the color of our urine.  A clear, or slightly colored, urine shows good hydration while a dark yellow urine color signals dehydration.

How much water should you consume?  You have probably heard many experts say eight, 8 ounce, glasses of water per day.  That is a good start but if you are extremely active, work in a hot environment, or live in a warmer climate that might not be enough.

A good indicator of water intake is 50 to 75% of your body weight in ounces.  For the average person: take your body weight, cut it in half, and that is the number of ounces you should drink in a day.  If you are more active, or work/live in a hotter environment, then add 25% more to your number of ounces.

Andrew Vertson

Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.
Andrew Vertson

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