Be sure to drink plenty of water - NL-023
The body utilizes water in various ways, such as lubricating the skin, adding moisture to the oral cavity to facilitate swallowing, and aiding the gastrointestinal tract with peristalsis. In addition, water is also utilized to transport nutrients and oxygen to the body's tissues and organs, and to eliminate metabolic waste products.
People may not realize that they are in a state of chronic dehydration due to the lack of water intake. Instead, the body will give off numerous indicators of dehydration before finally prompting the feeling of thirst.
Severe dehydration can have many effects on the body:
- Feeling thirsty easily
- Dry skin with poor elasticity
- Bouts of dsizziness, severe pain (can include joint pain, frequent migraines)
- Exhaustion and suffering from cramp during easy/moderate exercise
- Abnormal bowel movements and abnormal urination
- Inflammation (can include vaginal infection, urethritis and cystitis)
- Anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping
- Weight gain/obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, cardiovascular disease
Water is the primary component of blood. When a sufficient amount of water is present, it allows the blood to circulate oxygen and nutrition with ease. If there is a lack of water, the blood vessels and capillaries will decrease in size and the blood will become thicker, which increases the risk of it forming a clot. If a clot is already present and the blood vessels have narrowed, it could result in a blockage, angina, and difficulty breathing.
A lack of regular hydration can have a negative effect on metabolism, resulting in various chronic illnesses, including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and kidney issues.
When attempting to manage symptoms such as dizziness, chest tightness (pain), and chronic pain, the factor of chronic dehydration is frequently overlooked. Taking medication without rectifying the hydration issue will cause the pain to recur and set off a perpetual loop: dehydration, ache, drugs, and then more dehydration.
Chronic dehydration in females can result in inflammation, which can further cause urethritis, cystitis, and other vaginal infections.
Over time, those who suffer from chronic ailments, especially the elderly, can grow accustomed to drinking less and less water, leading to a lack of thirst. Without adequate hydration, the body will display signs of dehydration, including diminished skin elasticity, lessened urination, and darkened urine color.
The Chinese medical approach stresses the need for a balance between yin and yang. Water (yin) and fire (yang) are the two components that must be kept in check. When the body does not have enough fluids and is not properly hydrated, the internal heat may cause hyperactivity, which can lead to insomnia and irritability. Thus, anxiety may be related to dehydration.
Inadequate hydration techniques, stress levels, and a lack of yin can lead to chronic dehydration.
Incorrect hydration methods
It is possible that, despite what you believe, your body is not receiving enough water to stay hydrated.
Since so many individuals are accustomed to using coffee, tea, sodas, and other beverages as a replacement for ordinary water, it is important to recognize that while these drinks contain water, they also include components that lead to dehydration: caffeine and alcohol. This is because they cause an increase in urination, which means that more water is lost than is consumed.
During the summer, some may consume two or three sugar free drinks a day, thinking this will not weigh down the body. Unfortunately, with increased perspiration, along with the intake of unsweetened teas or caffeinated beverages, chronic dehydration can become a problem.
Post-workout, drinking cold tea may seem pleasant, however, this will only exacerbate chronic dehydration.
High levels of stress and Yin deficiency
When in a stressful situation, it is common for people to become irritable and have trouble sleeping, which is something that traditional Chinese physicians refer to as an excessive amount of yang and a lack of yin in the body.
The consequences of having a yin deficiency in the human body include a lack of water, a rapid metabolism, and chronic dehydration. People with this issue tend to have a thin physique, be irritable, have a reddish complexion, have warm hands and feet, enjoy cold beverages, suffer from dry skin and are prone to getting wrinkles and dark spots.
How much water should you drink each day to avoid severe dehydration?
Physical activity has a huge effect on the body's loss of water, especially strenuous exercise. It is recommended to drink water before and during exercise, instead of waiting until you feel thirsty, to prevent dehydration.
My cardiologist recently suggested that I consume 3 litres of water per day, but there is a regional and seasonal aspect to that advice. I am based in northern Thailand where the average temperature seldom drops below 25 degrees celsius, with high temperatures often hover around 35 to 40 degrees celsius, with high humidity. Getting through 3 litres per day is not an easy task, but I do strongly recommend at least starting your day with 2 good sized glasses of cool – but not cold – water. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding fruit slices to the water to improve the flavour.