Dehydration or improper intake of water is known to wreak havoc within the body, bringing forth a series of health problems. Several symptoms are crucial in assessing whether or not our body is depleted of our most important source of wellbeing and hydration; symptoms which will be analyzed in the following lines. Alcoholic beverages, coffee and soda impede proper hydration with diuretic properties, high sugar amount and preservatives. H2O is vital for our health and in its absence, fatal conditions can occur.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body is lacking sufficient amounts of liquid. Common during the aestival season and caused by excessive sweating, diarrhea and diabetes, dehydration does not go unnoticed and prefers to make itself known by signaling numerous symptoms. It is estimated that at least eight glasses of water should be drank daily for maintaining positive levels of hydration. Water is lost throughout the day through bowel movements, urine and perspiration which slowly but steadily lower the levels of fluid volume in the body.

Symptoms

The many consequences of dehydration are unpleasant and hard to miss: dry mouth, wrinkly, dry, skin, shallow breath, increased thirst, dry eyes, dark colored urine (dark yellow/orange or amber), fatigue, reduced urination or bowel movements, etc.

Solutions

Firstly and most importantly: always carry a bottle of water with you, wherever you go! Make sure that you refill it several times during the day or simply carry a mug or cup in case you have a trusted water source nearby. Alternative solutions have been offered to combatting the use of plastic bottles, which, although they can be recycled, are harmful for the environment because of their excessive use of natural resources. Thus, complex bottles have been invented, some made of steel or different, long-lasting materials or bottles incorporating water filters. My personal favorites are Klean Kanteen (http://www.kleankanteen.com/) and Water-To-Go (http://www.watertogo.eu/).

Thirsty or Hungry?

Often having their symptoms misinterpreted, it is good to know that the ability to distinguish between thirst and hunger decreases with years. The best method of establishing whether it’s the former or the latter is by “drinking a glass of water when you feel hungry to see if that’s what you’re really craving”, as suggested by Strauss Water. Confusing the two may lead to weight gain, dehydration, constipation and fatigue, along with other troublesome symptoms.

Creating Habit

It might be difficult creating habit, especially since life gets so chaotic nowadays – it’s actually quite hard to find the time to mull over your things. When considering the topic of water and hydration, habit should always come into the equation. The tendency or habit of drinking water is learned throughout one’s life. Of course, factors such as a busy lifestyle, work, etc. affect our list of priorities. In such a case, it is best to either reeducate oneself or make up reminders such as post-its or memos to remind yourself of the moment you should be drinking another glass of water.

You should especially keep hydrated during summer, when temperatures are skyrocketing, during exercise (e.g. cardio) and during periods of intense physical labor or mental activity.