De­hy­dra­tion a real health threat

Lesotho Times - - Health -

IT doesn’t take much to be­come de­hy­drated. Lose just 1.5 per­cent of the wa­ter in your body (the hu­man body is usu­ally about 60 per­cent H2O), and you’ve reached the tip­ping point of mild de­hy­dra­tion. It can be brought on by many things — and it can do much more to your body than just make you feel thirsty. De­hy­dra­tion also brings on health ef­fects rang­ing from fa­tigue and smelly breath to more dan­ger­ous con­se­quences like dis­tracted driv­ing.

It gives you bad breath It’s easy to for­get to drink wa­ter dur­ing a busy work­day, but at the end of the day you may find peo­ple stand­ing un­usu­ally far from you when you open your mouth. “De­hy­dra­tion can give you bad breath,” says Mar­shall Young, DDS, a den­tist in New­port Beach, Calif. “Saliva has im­por­tant an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties. When de­hy­drated, the de­creased saliva in the mouth al­lows bac­te­ria to thrive, re­sult­ing in bad breath.” So drink up for your own sake, and for those around you as well.

It makes you crave sugar De­hy­dra­tion can mask it­self as hunger, par­tic­u­larly sugar crav­ings. This may hap­pen par­tic­u­larly if you’ve been ex­er­cis­ing, says Amy Good­son, RD, sports di­eti­tian for the Dal­las Cowboys. “When you ex­er­cise in a de­hy­drated state, you use glyco­gen (stored car­bo­hy­drate) at a faster rate, thus di­min­ish­ing your stores more quickly.” So once you fin­ish ex­er­cis­ing, you will likely crave carbs to help you re­plen­ish those glyco­gen lev­els and get you ready for your next ex­er­cise bout.

It wrecks your work­out Even be­ing slightly de­hy­drated af­fects your abil­ity to put ef­fort into your work­out. “A 2 per­cent de­hy­dra­tion level in your body causes a 10 per­cent de­crease in ath­letic per­for­mance,” says Good­son. “And the more de­hy­drated you be­come, the worse per­for­mance gets.” Mea­sured by “per­ceived ex­er­tion,” how hard you feel you’re ex­er­cis­ing, you might be work­ing at a 6 but you feel like you are work­ing at an 8, says Good­son.

It dries your skin out Keep­ing skin healthy and glow­ing re­quires drink­ing enough wa­ter, says Anne Marie Tre­main, MD, a der­ma­tol­o­gist with Laser Skin Care Cen­ter Der­ma­tol­ogy As­so­ci­ates in Long Beach, Calif. “It’s best to hy­drate from the in­side out,” she says. “Depend­ing on your lifestyle you may need to ad­just your wa­ter in­take.” If you work out ev­ery day or are a caf­feine fiend, for in­stance, then you’ll need to drink more., be­cause work­outs make you sweat and caf­feine is a di­uretic, which can de­hy­drate you. For smooth, mois­tur­ized skin, Dr Tre­main also sug­gests keep­ing showers short (less than five min­utes) and us­ing only luke­warm wa­ter as hot wa­ter can dry your skin out even more.

It may af­fect your abil­ity to drive safely Few things are more un­com­fort­able than be­ing stuck in traf­fic or on a long drive when you need to use the re­stroom. Log­i­cally, it makes sense to sim­ply not drink wa­ter be­fore hit­ting the road. But new re­search pub­lished in Phys­i­ol­ogy and Be­hav­ior shows that the num­ber of driv­ing er­rors dou­bled dur­ing a two-hour drive when driv­ers were de­hy­drated ver­sus hy­drated — an ef­fect sim­i­lar to driv­ing while drunk (de­fined by most states as .08 per­cent blood al­co­hol). Since of­ten peo­ple pur­posely avoid drink­ing prior to a long road trip to pre­vent bath­room stops, de­hy­dra­tion could in­crease the risk of traf­fic ac­ci­dents.

It makes you tired A mid-af­ter­noon slump may have more to do with hy­dra­tion than you think. “When you’re de­hy­drated your blood pres­sure drops, heart rate in­creases, blood flow to the brain slows -- all of which can make you tired,” says Luga Podesta, MD, sports medicine spe­cial­ist at Kerlan-jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los An­ge­les, Calif. A lack of wa­ter to mus­cles also makes phys­i­cal tasks feel more dif­fi­cult and tir­ing.

It sours your mood Cranky much? Drink a glass of wa­ter and your mood may change. “Neu­ro­log­i­cal ef­fects of de­hy­dra­tion can cause ir­ri­tabil­ity,” says Dr Podesta. A small study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tion tested mood and con­cen­tra­tion in 25 young women who were ei­ther given enough flu­ids to re­main prop­erly hy­drated, or who be­came mildly de­hy­drated by tak­ing di­uret­ics and ex­er­cis­ing. The de­hy­drated women — who were at a level that was just 1 per­cent lower than op­ti­mal — re­ported headaches, loss of fo­cus, and ir­ri­tabil­ity.

It can give you the chills It may seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but de­hy­dra­tion can bring on chills. “This oc­curs be­cause

It con­sti­pates you Your body needs wa­ter to keep things mov­ing through your colon. When you’re not get­ting enough H2O, your body com­pen­sates by with­draw­ing more fluid from stool, mak­ing it harder and more dif­fi­cult to pass. That said, it’s worth not­ing that drink­ing more wa­ter when you’re al­ready prop­erly hy­drated won’t nec­es­sar­ily re­lieve con­sti­pa­tion caused by other fac­tors, like the med­i­ca­tions you’re tak­ing, med­i­cal con­di­tions, or a lack of fi­bre in your diet.

It makes you feel dizzy and foggy Along with mus­cles, your brain also gets less blood cir­cu­la­tion when you’re low on wa­ter, which can make you dizzy, says Dr Cas­ciari. Ad­di­tion­ally, mild de­hy­dra­tion may af­fect your abil­ity to take on men­tal tasks and cause you to feel foggy headed, ac­cord­ing to a study from the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Nutri­tion. In­ter­est­ingly, a study that ap­peared in the Jour­nal of Nutri­tion showed greater mood changes in women than in men, both at rest and dur­ing ex­er­cise.

It can give you a headache De­hy­dra­tion can cause headaches in a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent ways. “Lack of wa­ter af­fects your body’s sero­tonin lev­els, which can give you headaches,” says Dr Cas­ciari. In ad­di­tion, small blood ves­sels in the brain re­spond quickly to hy­dra­tion lev­els (which is also be­hind hang­over headaches), lead­ing to dull aches and even full-blown mi­graines. Try down­ing a glass or two of wa­ter the next time you have a headache and you may dis­cover it dis­ap­pears. You could also eat fruit, which con­tains a high per­cent­age of wa­ter, Dr Cas­ciari sug­gests. — CNN

Driv­ing er­rors dou­ble dur­ing a two-hour drive when driv­ers are de­hy­drated.

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