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11 Reasons Why Dehydration Is Dangerous For Your Well-Being

By Shauna Walker
Updated July 25, 2017

These days, a lot of emphasis is placed on eating the right food and getting plenty of exercise to prevent weight gain. While these are very important factors, they are not the only ones that can assist with weight regulation. Staying hydrated is equally important when it comes to your well-being, and it is often overlooked.

Most people only realize that they need to drink water when they start feeling thirsty, by which time dehydration has already started to set in. This is unhealthy because dehydration not only causes weight gain, but it can also leave you feeling ill. Even worse, people often turn to sugar-based beverages to quench their thirst, which results in a lot of excess calories. The average human body consists of 75 percent water, so it is no surprise that staying hydrated is so vital to our well-being.

1. Dehydration Can Result In High Blood Pressure

The liquid portion of blood, called plasma, consists of 92 percent water and is responsible for keeping blood pressure at satisfactory levels, amongst other things. If the body does not get enough water and becomes dehydrated, it can cause it to hold on to sodium, leading to an increase in blood volume and high blood pressure. This can result in anything from a stroke and kidney damage to damage to the heart and coronary arteries, so it is vital to stay hydrated and safeguard against high blood pressure.

2. Dehydration Causes Tiredness And Fatigue

Our bodies depend on water for energy. When dehydration sets in, it can cause enzymatic activity to slow down. This can result in a feeling of chronic tiredness and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can severely impact your energy levels and mood in a negative manner. These feelings can only be overcome by drinking enough water to re-trigger enzymatic activity.

3. Dehydration Contributes To Constipation

In order to form stools, the wall of the colon absorbs excess water until the right consistency for easy evacuation is achieved. Unfortunately, when the body is dehydrated, it can draw excessive liquid from the stool because it is not obtaining the water elsewhere. The result is stools that are dry and hard, which makes them difficult to eliminate. In some cases, the excessive liquid absorption from stools can cause constipation. Another side effect of this process is that it places extra strain on the liver and kidneys as the absorbed water has to be filtered again.

4. Dehydration Leads To A Higher Risk Of Respiratory Troubles

One of the most surprising effects of dehydration is its impact on the respiratory system. To protect the respiratory tract from pollen, dust and other substances in the air, the mucous membranes in this area are slightly moist. The mucous membranes are also moist to make dry air more humid.

However, when the body is dehydrated, it causes portions of the respiratory mucous membranes to also dry out, which makes it more sensitive. In addition, dehydration causes increased histamine levels in the body, which is bad for people who suffer from asthma. The combination of dehydration and elevated histamine levels also causes the body to release cortisol, which suppresses white blood cell production and increases your vulnerability to allergens.

5. Dehydration Is Bad For The Skin

Water helps flush toxins out of the body, and being dehydrated can have a big impact on the skin. A number of skin disorders, including psoriasis and dermatitis, can manifest when the skin does receive as much moisture as it requires. This is because the amount of water that can be transmitted from the dermal reserve to the epidermal layer of your skin is highly dependent on internal hydration levels. Because dehydration decreases blood volume, it can cause dry skin, resulting in flushing of the skin because it is not evaporating as well as it should.

6. Dehydration Is A Factor In Weight Gain

Dehydration depletes cells of energy, which can cause signals to be sent to the brain alerting it to this fact. Unfortunately, many people interpret these signals as hunger instead of thirst. In reality, what the body actually needs is water, so anyone who acts upon this hunger and eats food can experience weight gain. All too often, these “hunger” signals are also interpreted as sweet cravings. Chronic dehydration can even slow down the metabolism, resulting in further weight gain.

7. Dehydration Can Lead To Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders ranging from heartburn to gastro-esophageal reflux disorder can also be caused by dehydration. This occurs because water is required for the digestive process, which is a big problem when a person is dehydrated. Because food then remains in the stomach for longer, it can cause stomach acid to rise and enter the esophagus.

8. Dehydration Can Cause Bladder Or Kidney Issues

Although bladder infections are caused by bacteria entering the urethra, being dehydrated can make you more susceptible to this condition. Because the bacteria are not being flushed out, they can overwhelm the natural defenses of your body. Even worse, when a bladder infection is left untreated, it can eventually develop into a kidney infection, which is even more serious.

9. Dehydration Is Linked To High Cholesterol

Dehydration decreases the amount of water in your blood and thickens it, so it can cause damage to the blood vessels. In response, the body will increase cholesterol production to try to repair this damage and prevent tearing of the blood vessel. Unfortunately, this can also cause the blood vessel to close off and decrease blood flow. Staying dehydrated can cause more and more blood vessels to become damaged and raise cholesterol levels to dangerous levels. This, in turn, increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

10. Dehydration Increases The Chances Of Premature Aging

Aging is inevitable, but nobody wants to age prematurely, especially if it is preventable. Healthy skin naturally contains about 10 to 20 percent water, but when a person is dehydrated, this level can drop and cause problems. In addition to becoming irritated, the skin can be dry, rough, flaky and cracking, which gives it the appearance of premature aging. When the top layer Pin It of skin loses water, it can also cause existing lines and wrinkles to appear deeper and more pronounced. In addition, dehydration decreases the effectiveness of the skin as a protective barrier, making it even more susceptible to damage by outside elements.

11. Dehydration Plays A Role In Joint Pain Or Stiffness

Thanks to the water on the cartilage surfaces of bones, the joints can move more freely. This is because the water functions as a lubricant. However, when the body is dehydrated, there is less water for the cartilage to stay soft and hydrated. In the end, this results in joint pain or stiffness. Joint repair is also much slower when the body is dehydrated, which can cause further discomfort.

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Katherine Hurst
By Shauna Walker
Personal trainer, fitness coach and wellness expert for over twenty years. Shauna is able to connect personally with her clients because I faced my own wellness challenges at a young age. She started her personal journey towards feeling fit and healthy twenty years ago, and has never looked back. Once struggling with her weight, she also had confidence issues and found it hard to stick with diet and exercise. Shauna managed to break free of this struggle, and now wants to give back and share the lessons she has learned.

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