Dehydration is the loss of more water than our bodies can absorb. What are the symptoms of dehydration? How does dehydration affect our physical activity? What illnesses can dehydration lead to and what illnesses can lead to dehydration?
Dehydration is the loss of more water than the body can absorb. Water is expelled from the body during breathing and urination and must be replenished regularly. The body’s daily water needs depend on the environment, diet, age, and level of physical activity.
The symptoms of dehydration can be divided into three levels:
- mild – is a loss of about 1% of body weight; symptoms include thirst, headache, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, and apathy.
- moderate – is a loss of about 4% of body weight; symptoms include dry mouth, little or no urine, lethargy, increased heart rate, and inelastic skin.
- Heavy – this is a loss of about 10% of body weight; common symptoms include extreme thirst, not urinating, rapid breathing, altered mental status, cold and sticky skin. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention, otherwise, it can be fatal.
Dehydration and physical activity
Dehydration has a negative effect on physical performance. Symptoms of dehydration, such as loss of stamina, can occur with a water shortage of 2% of body weight. Acute dehydration occurs after 2 hours of physical activity in hot weather and can affect mental performance. On the other hand, mild dehydration caused by refusing to drink for a short period of time does not significantly impair cognitive abilities.
Disorders and diseases caused by dehydration
Mild dehydration, while not reducing cognitive ability, is associated with the development of urinary lithiasis, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and mitral valve prolapse. Dehydration itself can also be associated with constipation, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, cerebral hemorrhage, venous thrombosis, dental disease, gallstones, and glaucoma.