Water is essential for your body to function properly as it makes up approximately 70% of the human body. And that is why you can experience some health problems when your body becomes dehydrated due to excess perspiration, hot weather, sun exposure, or lack of fluids throughout the day. While mild dehydration is easily remedied, severe dehydration is a serious condition that can lead to loss of consciousness, organ failure or even death. Here are 5 common signs and symptoms of dehydration.
1. Fatigue: Fatigue or sleepiness can be a sign of dehydration. Studies have shown that fluid loss amounting to 1–3% of your body weight, which is considered mild dehydration, can cause feelings of fatigue and sleepiness during normal daily activities. In a study of young, healthy women, water restriction for 24 hours caused sleepiness, confusion, fatigue and decreased alertness. All of these symptoms improved when the women were allowed to freely drink water at the conclusion of the 24-hour period.
2. Dark Yellow Urine: You urine color is one of the top telling signs of dehydration. If you’re well hydrated, your urine should be a clear, pale yellow color and nearly odorless. On the other hand, cloudy, dark yellow urine is a sign of dehydration.
3. Changes in Skin Elasticity: Dehydration can cause changes to the appearance and texture of your skin. Your skin is made up of approximately 30% water, which is responsible for its fullness and elasticity. Healthy, well-hydrated skin will return to its normal shape after being pulled and stretched. This elastic nature of skin is known as skin turgor. On the other hand, when the body is dehydrated, fluid is pulled away from the skin and diverted to major organs to keep them functioning properly. This shift of fluid away from the skin causes it to lose its elasticity.
4. Heart Rate Increases: Dehydration often causes plummeting electrolyte levels, which will lead to increased heart rate, heart palpitations (or spasms) in the actual heart muscle. As blood pressure plummets, breathing and heart rate will quicken to indicate potential dehydration.
If you suspect you or someone you know is dehydrated, you can take their pulse and blood pressure reading lying down and again standing up. Take it for one minute each time as blood pressure will naturally drop a few seconds if you go from laying down to standing. Inadequate fluid in the blood will cause dehydration, quickening the heart rate and causing dizziness as inadequate blood is flowing to the brain. A quick heart rate check can be a good determinant of dehydration severity.