In today’s ultra health-conscious world, proper hydration has become essential to many people. Here at Optimum, we are excited about how many people are paying attention to how much water they’re drinking. Sixty percent of the human body is water, and that water can be lost during a variety of day-to-day activities, so it’s important to replenish your reserves.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids and electrolytes than you consume, and your body doesn’t have a sufficient amount of water to carry out its normal functions. Recent studies suggest that up to 75% of American adults are chronically dehydrated, leading to symptoms ranging from headaches and fatigue to fatal kidney and heart complications.

Proper hydration is crucial to our health, and yet the Internet is full of myths about water consumption. We are dedicated to helping our customers and their loved ones stay hydrated and healthy. For this reason, our staff at Optimum has compiled this helpful guide to address the risks and myths of dehydration.

The Risks of Dehydration

Water is the single most important thing we put into our bodies. Humans can survive for about two months without food, but we would only last approximately a week without water. As Dr. Penny Wilson, a dietitian at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute, explains, “Water is necessary for every metabolic process in your body. It transports nutrients to your cells and takes waste away from them. It’s like oil in a car.”

The Risks of Not Consuming Enough Water

The human body and its cells cannot function without water, but your body can lose water through many everyday processes, such as exercise, urinating, or sweating. However, when you don’t consume enough water to replenish what you’re losing throughout the day, you can quickly become dehydrated. A study from the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory showed that dehydration could have a negative effect on concentration, reaction time, learning, memory, mood, and reasoning. Mild dehydration can also cause fatigue, anxiety, and headaches.

Proper hydration has many positive effects on your body: it protects against kidney stones, counters asthma, protects against vascular diseases such as stroke, and helps your kidneys flush metabolic wastes. When you don’t properly hydrate, your body cannot complete its normal functions that protect you from these issues.

The Risks of Severe Dehydration

Severe dehydration can have even more serious risks. Without enough water, your kidneys will begin to fail as they are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood. You may experience low blood pressure and a quickened pulse. In some cases, when people have begun rehydrating after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into its cells. This process causes the cells to swell and rupture. When this happens in the brain, it is called cerebral edema.

Muscle spasms and seizures can also be experienced when someone is severely dehydrated. A serious loss of fluid can create an electrolyte imbalance in your body, meaning electrolytes such as sodium and potassium can’t carry electrical signals between your cells. These electrical messages get mixed up, causing muscle spasms, seizures, and even loss of consciousness. If one of those spasms occurs in your heart muscle, your heart can go into arrhythmia, which can be fatal.

Severe dehydration can also lead to hypovolemic shock, a life-threatening condition where your blood volume lowers to the point that your blood pressure drops dangerously low. Hypovolemic shock can result in your body not getting enough oxygen. When not treated appropriately and promptly, severe dehydration can lead to coma and even death.

Common Myths About Dehydration

Now that we’ve covered the risks of dehydration, it’s time to debunk some of the most common myths about hydration. In knowing some of the most common myths about dehydration, you will be better prepared to monitor the amount of water you consume. You will also have a better idea of whether or not you are hydrated.

Dehydration and the Color of Your Urine

One of the most common myths about dehydration is that the more yellow your urine is, the more dehydrated you are. There is also a misconception that the clearer your urine is, the more hydrated you are. Dr. Roger Adams, nutritionist and dietitian, suggests being mindful of your urine output as a measure of your hydration: “Instead of looking at the color, look at volume. The more you put in your body, the more that should come out.”

Thirst and Dehydration

Another common myth about dehydration is that thirst is not a good indicator as to how hydrated you are. On the contrary, thirst is an excellent sign of your hydration needs. Thirst is your body’s built-in mechanism of communicating when you are dehydrated. Some experts would even argue that thirst is the only tool you need to determine how hydrated you are! If your body tells you it’s thirsty, it’s probably a good time to hydrate.

Optimum Bottleless Water Systems for Better Health and Hydration!

Optimum wants to make it easier than ever for you to stay adequately hydrated! If you would like to find out more about the health benefits of proper hydration and how Optimum can help you start reaching your hydration goals today, check out our website!