Dehydration occurs when a person loses more bodily fluid than he or she takes in. It can happen gradually over a period of time, or very quickly in some cases due to extreme exercising. Two thirds of the human body is made up of water. When dehydration occurs, it means a person has lost a sufficient amount of fluid for the body to stop working normally.
A small loss of fluid does not normally effect the body's system and can go unnoticed. If dehydration is allowed to continue, then problems will arise. The first symptom of dehydration may be a dry or sticky mouth. You may also feel dizzy and suffer from nausea. You will also notice that your urine has become darker, and you may produce less.
There are many common causes of dehydration. You can suffer from severe dehydration when you become ill. Stomach bugs, diarrhea and the common cold can all lead to the body losing fluid. If you are ill and have a fever or vomit, then fluid will be lost. If you have been using laxatives or diuretics, this can also account for a loss of fluid.
Athletes lose huge amounts of fluid when performing. During sports, people sweat continuously and should top up their fluids at regular intervals. When people sweat, they are also losing valuable minerals such as salt and potassium.
Dieting is also another case in which dehydration can occur. Many dieting aids cause fluid to be lost from the body as a quick way to reduce weight. Losing water will not help you to shed fat; it will only make you feel ill.
It is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses or two liters of water per day. This is a normal consumption of fluid, and you should not count tea, coffee or soda in this figure. Tea and coffee are diuretics and will not help you retain fluid in the body; they will only make you urinate more frequently. If you are performing exercise, then more fluid than the two-liter amount is recommended.
Keeping well hydrated has many benefits. It keeps skin clear and healthy. It makes people more alert and prevents them from becoming tired easily. It also aids in the digestion of food and helps when dieting. On rare occasions, dehydration may be the sign of a more serious illness such as diabetes. If you feel continuously dehydrated, make sure you consult your doctor, who can rule out such illnesses.