Maybe You’re Not Sick? Maybe You’re Dehydrated?
In our dry Central Oregon climate, chronic dehydration can lead to chronic illness. It’s crucial to understand the significance of water and how it affects our well-being.
Dehydration can make you feel sick because it disrupts several vital bodily functions. Here’s how dehydration can lead to feelings of illness:
Impaired Immune Function:
Dehydration can weaken your immune system, making it less effective at defending against illnesses. This can make you more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
Dehydration often results in an imbalance of electrolytes like sodium and potassium in your body. These electrolytes are crucial for various physiological processes, including nerve function and muscle contractions. An imbalance can lead to symptoms such as muscle cramps, weakness, and even irregular heart rhythms.
Reduced Blood Volume:
Dehydration decreases your blood volume, which can lead to decreased blood pressure. Low blood pressure can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting, making you feel unwell.
Dehydration can slow down digestion and lead to issues like constipation. This can contribute to feelings of discomfort and malaise.
Dehydration can affect brain function, leading to difficulty concentrating, headaches, and irritability. Severe dehydration can even cause confusion and disorientation.
Insufficient hydration can lead to a drop in energy levels and increased fatigue, making you feel generally unwell and sluggish.
Dry Skin and Mucous Membranes:
Dehydration can cause dry, cracked skin and dry mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, which can be uncomfortable and contribute to a feeling of unwellness.
Adequate hydration helps the body flush out waste products and toxins. When you’re dehydrated, these substances can build up in your body, potentially leading to feelings of sickness.
It’s essential to stay properly hydrated to maintain overall health and well-being. Regularly drinking an adequate amount of water can help prevent these negative effects of dehydration and keep you feeling your best. Here are some key points to consider:
Daily Water Intake:
Ensure you’re drinking the right amount of water. Women should aim for 96 ounces, while men should aim for a gallon per day.
Listen to Your Thirst:
Thirst is a signal that you’re already dehydrated, so don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Sip water throughout the day and pay attention to your electrolyte levels.
Tips to Increase Water Intake:
Set a timer as a reminder, carry a water bottle with you, or add a low-sugar flavor enhancer.
If you workout or sweat excessively, be sure to replace lost electrolytes with a supplement like LMNT to maintain proper hydration.
Maintain Proper Hydration:
Aim for urine that looks like light lemonade. Drink water throughout the day but avoid excessive consumption before bedtime to ensure uninterrupted sleep.
It’s essential to stay properly hydrated to maintain overall health and well-being.
Consider using a good filter for your tap water to ensure its quality. I recommend a Berkey Filter.
Balance is Key:
Don’t practice hydration hedonism; keep it balanced, friends. There is a Goldilocks amount that is just right.
Watch Your Urination:
If you haven’t urinated in a while, it’s a sign that you may not be drinking enough. Stick to clear, non-caffeinated fluids for optimal hydration. Remember that beverages like coffee and tea have their own considerations (they flush extra sodium during hydration, so you could be losing more sodium than you should).
Water and Massage:
Hydration is essential before a massage to loosen up the body and make the process smoother and less intense. Dehydration can lead to massage flu (Experiencing flu-like symptoms following a deep tissue massage is relatively common and is referred to as Post Massage Soreness & Malaise (PMSM). PMSM presents differently in everyone with different degrees of severity and the appearance of various flu-like symptoms.).
After a massage, maintain the benefits by staying hydrated and engaging in light physical activity like walking to promote circulation.