Everybody knows that you can die of thirst. We’ve all heard about the harrowing lengths stranded adventurers will go to get a few drops of water while they wait for rescue. But what about those of us who aren’t scaling cliffs and crossing the desert? Even if you don’t risk dying of thirst, there are a few ways to know whether you’re getting enough water to be at your best.
Running On Water
Water makes up anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of your body — that figure depends on a lot of things. Your biggest organs, like your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys, are between 65 and 85 percent water, and your blood is about half water. Even your bones are about 30 percent water. What we’re saying is that water is really important when it comes to keeping you going. That’s why even losing two percent of your body weight in water is enough to make you thirsty. Some experts say that sensation is slow to occur: by the time you have the feeling of thirst, your body is already dehydrated.
As you lose water through your breath, sweat, and urine, your bodily fluids become more concentrated. Your urine becomes a darker color as your kidneys fight to retain water. Your blood gets thicker, which makes things harder on your cardiovascular system, so your heart rate increases to keep your blood pressure constant.
That can all lead to symptoms that might be hard to find a cause for if you’re not paying attention. As less blood is available to carry oxygen to your brain, you might start to get a headache or feel irritable, tired, tense, or dizzy. Tasks become harder, and it’s more difficult to concentrate. Unfortunately, these are all symptoms that could easily be mistaken for stress or lack of sleep. So how do you really know it’s dehydration?
The Telltale Signs
- You haven’t visited the bathroom in a while. When your kidneys go into emergency water-storage mode, you pee less, and the pee that does come out is a dark yellow instead of the light straw color experts recommend. Dehydration can also bring on constipation. It’s no fun no matter how you look at it.
- Your head doesn’t feel right. As we said, headaches, dizziness, and feelings of fatigue, irritability, and stress can all be due to a multitude of causes, but there’s an easy way to check if dehydration is the culprit: drink something, preferably water or a beverage with electrolytes (here’s one of our favorites). At worst, you have another trip to the bathroom in your future. At best, you solve the problem in one fell swoop.
- Your skin isn’t springy. Doctors refer to the skin’s ability to bounce back from a change in shape as “skin turgor.” Pinch the skin on your forearm or belly for a few seconds, then let go. If it snaps back to its normal position, you’re good. If it takes a while to return to normal, you might be dehydrated.
Liquid I.V. is a non-GMO electrolyte drink mix that’s designed to deliver hydration to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently than water alone. It’s inspired by a World Health Organization-backed science called Oral Rehydration Therapy, which relies on the fact that the body can take in more water if it contains a specific ratio of sodium, glucose, and potassium. According to the company, their upgraded version of this science makes 16 ounces of Liquid I.V. provide the same level of hydration as drinking two to three bottles of water. That makes it easy to counteract jet-lag inducing dehydration on airplanes, headaches at the office, and fatigue during workouts. Best of all, when you hydrate with Liquid I.V., you help others do the same. With every purchase on their site, they donate a serving of Liquid I.V. to those in need around the world.