Knowing some of the warning signs of dehydration, especially some of the lesser-known ones, can help you stay well hydrated and healthy.
Here are seven signs that you might be dehydrated and need to boost your fluid intake.
1. Your breath stinks.
Your saliva does its job 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, washing away food particles in your mouth, on your tongue, and between your teeth and gums. If you don’t have enough saliva, the food particles can remain, which leads to increased oral bacteria and probably a bad odour. Make sure you are keeping your mouth moist throughout the day by drinking water. If you need additional freshening up, make sure you are chewing sugarless gum or candy to help stimulate the production of more saliva.
2. You feel cranky.
A recent study conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory examined the mood and concentration levels of 25 women who were instructed to drink healthy amounts of water one day, and skimp for the next two days. When the women became slightly dehydrated, they reported higher levels of fatigue, irritability, headaches, and poor concentration. Men in a similar test also reported feeling fatigued and having difficulty concentrating, but fewer symptoms directly related to their mood.
3. You are craving sweets.
You might find that you are craving a snack, particularly a sugary one, when you really need to drink. This is especially likely after a strenuous workout, when we can become dehydrated and our glycogen stores are depleted. Instead of reaching for the sugary snacks, satisfy the craving with a piece of juicy fruit that gives you nutritious carbs and plenty of fluids.
4. Your skin can be pulled and shaped.
If you can pull the skin gently on the back of your hand and it remains “tented” after you let go, you are dehydrated. This measure of skin elasticity, or skin turgor, can begin as you reach only about 5% dehydration. The more dehydrated you get, the more “tented” your skin will stay, and for longer.
5. You have a lousy workout.
When you are dehydrated, your blood thickens and your heart must work harder to pump the blood through the vessels. All you need is about 2-3% dehydration to notice a difference. When you reach about 5%, you will find that your exercise ability can decrease by up to 30%.
6. You’re driving erratically.
If you spend a lot of time in the car, you might make it a habit to use the bathroom right before you leave and then avoid drinking large amounts of fluids, to prevent having to stop too much. But, driving while dehydrated might be just as bad as driving while intoxicated, when it comes to making mistakes in judgment.
7. You get dizzy from standing too quickly.
When you become dehydrated, you lose blood volume and pressure, which can lead to a “head rush” feeling if you stand up too quickly.
Just when you think you might be well hydrated, you find out all of these different signs that you might not have known about. Make sure that you are drinking enough fluids for good overall health!