Are You Drinking Enough Water
Water is the largest component of the body, accounting for more than half of our body weight. Water makes up more than two thirds of the human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration.
Water Consumption – How Much Should You Consume
To replace fluid losses, adults generally need to consume 2 to 4 litres of fluid daily in cool climates, depending on degree of activity, and from 8 to 16 litres a day in very hot climates. Our bodies can control overheating through perspiration from sweat glands in the skin and from evaporation which produces a cooling effect. Blood is also routed into areas close to the surface of the skin where it can be cooled and then carried back to the interior of the body.
Conversing in a cold environment, the skin maintains proper body temperature by shunting the blood away from the exterior surface thereby conserving heat within the body. The movement of water within our cellular systems also transports vital blood plasma which is 92% made of water. Blood plasma plays a critical role in buffering the body’s pH, circulating antibodies from the immune system, and regulating osmotic balance which all helps to maintain proper body temperature.
Dehydration may develop if water consumption fails to satisfy thirst; if the thirst mechanism is not functioning properly, as during intense physical exercise; or if there is excessive fluid loss, as with diarrhea or vomiting. By the time thirst is apparent, there is already some degree of dehydration, which is defined as loss of fluid amounting to at least 1 to 2 percent of body weight.
Signs of Dehydration
Symptoms can progress quickly if not corrected:
- dry mouth
- sunken eyes
- poor skin turgor
- cold hands and feet
- weak and rapid pulse
- rapid and shallow breathing
- and coma.
Water helps our bodies remove toxins in many different ways. Water flushes toxins and waste from the body through urination and perspiration. Water helps reduce constipation and aids in bowel movements which ensures that wastes are removed quickly and regularly before they can become poisonous in the body. This waste buildup can occur in the body if dehydration becomes a regular occurrence and this can cause headaches, toxicity and illness. Drinking enough water will also lessen the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products.
Loss of fluid constituting more than 10 percent of body weight may be fatal. The elderly (whose thirst sensation may be dulled), people who are ill, and those flying in airplanes are especially vulnerable to dehydration. Infants and children with chronic undernutrition who develop gastroenteritis may become severely dehydrated from diarrhea or vomiting. Treatment is with an intravenous or oral solution of glucose and salts.
Water Runs our Bodies
Blood is about 92% water and it carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Nutrients from the food we eat are broken down in the digestive system where they become water-soluble, which means they are dissolved in water. Water allows these nutrients to pass through the capillaries within the intestinal walls to the blood and circulatory system where the valuable nutrients and oxygen can be distributed throughout the body to all the cells and organs. In addition to the daily maintenance of our bodies, water also plays a key role in the prevention of disease. Drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it can potentially even reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Since water is such an important component to our physiology, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Therefore, your drinking water should always be clean and free of contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness.