Hydration

Water Facts

  • There is the same amount of water on Earth as there was when the Earth was formed. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank.
  • According to the CER, the average household contained 2.6 people, which means the average (mean) consumption per person was around 133 litres per day-The median household usage was 260 litres per day.
  • Water is composed of two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. 2 Hydrogen + 1 Oxygen = H2O.
  • Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all of humanity’s needs — all its agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs.
  • 80% of all illness in the developing world is water related
  • Water regulates the Earth’s temperature. It also regulates the temperature of the human body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, cushions joints, protects organs and tissues, and removes wastes.
  • 75% of the human brain is water and 75% of a living tree is water.
  • A person can live about a month without food, but only about a week without water.As far back as 400 B.C., physicians and philosophers blamed behavioral changes on the pull of the moon. The word “lunatic,” after all, came from the idea that changes in mental state were related to lunar cycles.
  • The ocean’s tides rise and fall in time with the moon’s phases, and several marine speciesTrusted Source — including reef coral, sea-dwelling worms, and some fish — have reproductive cycles that are roughly timed to lunar cycles.

Drinking water does more than just quench your thirst — it’s essential to keeping your body functioning properly and feeling healthy. Nearly all of your body’s major systems depend on water to function and survive. You’d be surprised about what staying hydrated can do for your body.

Here are just a few important ways water works in your body:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth
  • It protects your tissues, spinal cord, and joints
  • It helps prevent constipation
  • It aids in digestion
  • It helps excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation
  • Protects body organs and tissues
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Lubricates joints
  • flushing out waste from your body
  • helping your brain function
  • Lessens burden the on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products
  • Helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body

Every day, you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements, which is why it’s important to continue to take in water throughout the day. For your body to function at its best, you must replenish its water supply with beverages and food that contain water.

About dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in.

When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body, which affects the way it functions.

Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.

Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling thirsty and lightheaded
  • A dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
  • Passing urine less often than usual

A baby may be dehydrated if they:

  • Have a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
  • Have few or no tears when they cry
  • Have fewer wet nappies
  • Are drowsy

The body is affected even when you lose a small amount of fluid.

What causes dehydration?

Dehydration is usually caused by not drinking enough fluid to replace what we lose. The climate, the amount of physical exercise you are doing (particularly in hot weather) and your diet can contribute to dehydration. You can also become dehydrated as a result of an illness, such as persistent vomiting and diarrhoea, or sweating from a fever.

Who is at risk from dehydration?

Anyone can become dehydrated, but certain groups are particularly at risk. These include:

  • babies and infants – they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss
  • older people – they may be less aware that they are becoming dehydrated and need to keep drinking fluids
  • people with a long-term health condition – such as diabetes or alcoholism
  • athletes – they can lose a large amount of body fluid through sweat when exercising for long periods

What to do

If you’re dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted squash or fruit juice. These are much more effective than large amounts of tea or coffee. Fizzy drinks may contain more sugar than you need and may be harder to take in large amounts.

If you’re finding it difficult to keep water down because you’re vomiting, try drinking small amounts more frequently.

Infants and small children who are dehydrated shouldn’t be given large amounts of water alone as the main replacement fluid. This is because it can dilute the already low level of minerals in their body too much and lead to other problems.

Instead, they should be given diluted squash or a rehydration solution (available from pharmacies). You might find a teaspoon or syringe can be helpful for getting fluid into a young child.

If left untreated, severe dehydration can be serious and cause fits (seizures), brain damage and death.

What is overhydration?

Most people, especially those who exercise in hot weather, are more concerned about not drinking enough water. However, drinking too much water can also be dangerous.

Overhydration can lead to water intoxication. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted. Hyponatremia is a condition in which sodium (salt) levels become dangerously low. This is the main concern of overhydration.

If your electrolytes drop too low too quickly, it can be fatal. Death by overhydration is rare, but it can happen.

There are two main types of overhydration:

  • Increased water intake

This occurs when you drink more water than your kidneys can remove in your urine. This can cause too much water to collect in your bloodstream.

  • Retaining water

This occurs when your body can’t get rid of water properly. Several medical conditions can cause your body to retain water.

Both of these types are dangerous because they throw off the balance between water and sodium in your blood.

What causes overhydration?

Overhydration is an imbalance of fluids. It happens when your body takes in or holds on to more fluid than your kidneys can remove.

Drinking too much water or not having a way to remove it can cause water levels to build up. This dilutes important substances in your blood. Endurance athletes, such as those who run marathons and triathlons, sometimes drink too much water before and during an event.

It’s also important to remember that water needs vary with age, sex, weather, activity level, and overall health. So there is no exact formula on how much to drink. Common situations such as extreme heat, significant activity, and illness with fever will all require more fluid intake than average.

In a healthy person, your urine is a good indicator of your hydration status. Pale yellow urine that looks like lemonade is a good goal. Darker urine means you need more water. Colorless urine means you are overhydrated.

In healthy people, athletes are at highest risk for overhydration. Sports experts at Harvard recommend that a logical approach to hydration while exercising is letting thirst be your guide.

Some conditions and medicines cause overhydration by making your body hold on to more fluid. These include:

  • congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • liver disease
  • kidney problems
  • syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • uncontrolled diabetes

Other conditions and drugs can cause increased water intake by making you extremely thirsty. These include:

  • schizophrenia
  • MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy)
  • antipsychotic drugs
  • diuretics

Who is at risk for overhydration?

Overhydration is more common among endurance athletes who drink large amounts of water before and during exercise. It has been reported among:

  • people who run marathons and ultramarathons (races longer than 26.2 miles)
  • Ironman triathletes
  • endurance cyclists
  • rugby players
  • elite rowers
  • military members involved in training exercises
  • hikers

This condition is also more likely in people with kidney or liver disease. It can also affect people with heart failure.