Wellness Tips

7 Conditions That Might Increase Your Risk of Dehydration

Peeing less, chapped lips and dizziness could indicate your body requires more H2O. And if you’ve ever been low on water, you’re not alone. About 75% of Americans are regularly dehydrated, according to StatsPearls. More often than not, dehydration has a quick fix, supplying your body with more water. So, how does one become dehydrated in the first place? Although there are some sneaky ways you can become dehydrated, there are also certain conditions that can make you more dehydration-prone. Here’s what to know about dehydration, its symptoms, and seven conditions that can cause a water deficit in your body, according to experts.

What Is Dehydration?

The National Library of Medicine defines dehydration as “a condition caused by losing too much fluid from the body.” Dehydration happens “when your body is losing more fluid than it is taking in; this disrupts the delicate balance of minerals,” says Erin Stokes, ND, a naturopathic doctor and medical director for MegaFood. When we fall short of meeting adequate water intakes, it can wreak havoc on our bodies. “Water is vital for life! Our bodies need water to function properly, and it’s important to remember that our bodies are made up of almost two-thirds water,” says Stokes.

Signs and Symptoms

“Symptoms of dehydration can be sneaky. For example, feeling light-headed and tired may be due to dehydration but could also be related to a nutrient deficiency, specifically iron. Other more obvious dehydration symptoms include infrequent urination, darker urine and feeling thirsty. Some people will also experience headaches related to dehydration,” says Stokes.

Other signs of dehydration in adults can be:

  • Dry mouth, lips, or skin
  • Less sweat
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Shock

7 Conditions That Increase Your Risk of Dehydration

“These conditions pose a threat to hydration by either increasing fluid loss, disrupting the body’s fluid balance, or creating conditions that require more water intake than usual. Staying vigilant and adopting proper hydration strategies are essential in mitigating the risk of dehydration associated with these conditions,” Stewart Parnacott, RN, NP, registered nurse, nurse practitioner and instructor at Baylor College of Medicine.

1. Sickness

Sipping water may be far from your mind if you have a sore throat, sinus pressure or feeling all around bad. And a rise in your body temp may make dehydration even more likely. “Fevers often accompany various illnesses and infections, and these elevated body temperatures can trigger dehydration. When the body’s temperature rises, the body attempts to cool down by sweating. This natural cooling mechanism results in fluid loss through sweat, increasing the body’s demand for hydration,” says Parnacott. Poor appetite, diarrhea or vomiting can cause more fluids to exit your body, making matters worse for dehydration. Generally, developing dehydration is possible if it’s a bacterial or viral infection or food poisoning.

2. Exercise

A brisk walk, a HIIT workout or an afternoon run can up your chances of losing water if you aren’t replacing these losses the way your body needs. “Engaging in intense physical activity, especially in hot and humid environments, can lead to excessive sweating and fluid loss. During exercise, the body releases sweat to regulate body temperature, which can result in significant fluid depletion if not adequately replenished. Dehydration during exercise can impair performance, increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, and hinder the body’s ability to recover effectively,” says Parnacott.

3. Aging

Older adults are at risk for dehydration due to age-related factors directly impacting proper hydration. For instance, aging can bring on a natural drop in feelings of thirst. Further, according to a 2021 review published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, older adults may have difficulty moving around and become fearful of frequent bathroom trips. Certain disease states and medications may also put older adults at a greater risk of hydration. “Total body water content also gradually reduces with age, meaning older adults may naturally dehydrate quicker than their younger selves,” says Kelsey Riesbeck, RD, a registered dietitian and dietary director of Lift Wellness Company.

4. Diabetes

Keeping your blood sugars well-balanced can be a win-win for your hydration. “Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce or properly use insulin,” says Parnacott. He explains how the metabolic condition could stimulate dehydration in two ways. “Firstly, elevated blood sugar levels lead to increased urination, causing the body to lose more water. Secondly, diabetes can also lead to frequent thirst, compelling individuals to drink more, but if not managed properly, this cycle can result in excessive fluid loss,” says Parnacott.

5. Kidney Disease

Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs that clean the blood to keep the good nutrients flowing through your body and the unwanted wastes and fluid out via urine. However, disease in the kidneys disrupts the flow of these vital responsibilities. “A limited function in the kidneys can affect waste and fluid removal,” says Blanca Garcia, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition specialist at Health Canal. A 2022 review published in StatsPearls shows that kidney disease can cause water losses. “The treatment for kidney disease may include diuretics, a medication intended to move excess fluids, which can lead to dehydration if too much fluid is removed,” says Garcia. While kidney disease can cause dehydration, the reverse can also occur. “You can also get kidney-associated problems like urinary tract infections, develop kidney stones, or, if dehydrated for long periods of time,” says Garcia.

6. Drinking Alcohol

Whether you drink a beer every day after work or enjoy the occasional weekend boozy beverage, it’s vital to understand alcohol intake can fuel more than the need to unwind, but dehydration too. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol can suppress the release of the hormone vasopressin, which acts to hold onto water in the body. That’s why the phrase “break the seal” exists, because alcohol causes the urine floodgates to open, and it seems like much of your night out is spent in the restroom. And if you’re feeling that pounding headache, excessive thirst or sluggishness the following day, these are common hangover symptoms that indicate dehydration.

7. Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can increase the risk for dehydration as a result of various negative behaviors around food. These behaviors may include laxative abuse, vomiting and restriction of fluid-containing foods and caloric beverages. Some individuals also struggle with fears of excess water weight and thus avoid water in an attempt to control body size,” says Riesbeck.

If you or a loved one are coping with an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline for support at 1-800-931-2237.

The Best Ways to Stay Hydrated

“According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the recommended water for men is 15.5 cups and for women 11.5 cups, says Garcia. Yet, many people struggle to drink enough. From my experience, people get bored with drinking water. By its very nature, water has a neutral taste and is simply not that exciting to people!” says Stokes.

Here are some quick tips for swigging back more water in your regular wellness routine:

  • Infuse flavor: “One way to make your water intake more appealing is to enliven it with a squeeze of lemon or lime and add some ice during the summer months. You can also try an iced herbal tea like peppermint or hibiscus as an alternative to water that is still hydrating,” says Stokes. Try our refreshing Lemon, Cucumber & Mint Infused Water.
  • Carry cold water: Adopts a healthy hydration habit by carrying cold water with you on the go. Try the varieties that keep your water cold for a couple of days.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Hydrating foods that help you meet your water goals include watermelon, apples and yogurt.

The Bottom Line

Dehydration happens when your body loses more water than it can replenish—causing symptoms. If your urine is dark, you’re thirsty or you have a persistent headache; it may be time to crack open a water bottle. While dehydration is common, certain conditions can trigger it, including illness, exercise, aging, diabetes, kidney disease, alcohol intake, and eating disorders. If you have a serious medical condition, always seek your medical provider’s help navigating your water needs. It doesn’t take chugging water all day long to prevent dehydration. Simply stay up on your water drinking habits by increasing the flavor appeal of your water and make hydration convenient by carrying water and hydrating foods with you wherever you go.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button