around our body, cushioning our organsand joints, helping to get rid of wasteand preventing constipation.” Whenwe get dehydrated, even just a little,our cells start to shrink, our kidneysstart retaining water and our bloodgets thicker, which means the heart andcardiovascular system have to workharder.
People with mild dehydration may getheadaches, dizzy, irritable or sluggish.A lot of times when you’re tired in theafternoon, it’s because you’re dehydrated.“Other times, you think you’re hungryand your body is craving something. Youthink it’s food but it’s actually fluid thatyou need,” Sundberg says.
When you’re dehydrated, any woundsyou have may not heal properly and ifyou have a serious infection, you couldbecome confused or even deliriouswith more severe dehydration. Seriousdehydration can also cause rapidbreathing, cold hands and feet andunconsciousness.
It’s time to turn on the tap
and fill up that water bottle
WRITTEN BY JENNIFER ALLFORD
Your mouth is dry. Your throat is
parched. Maybe you lick your lips. Your
body is telling you that you need to get
some fluid in your system right away. If
you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already a
little dehydrated. “Thirst is a sign of mild
dehydration,” says Jennifer Sundberg, a
registered dietitian who works in public
health at Alberta Health Services in Red
Deer. “As a general rule, we need fluids
before we’re thirsty.”
That’s because our bodies are made
up of half to two-thirds water. And we
are always using water. Just sitting on
the couch and breathing uses some of
the water sloshing around in our cells,
tissues and organs.
To keep our bodies running well,adults need to take in 2. 25 to 3 L (nine to12 cups) of fluid every day.
“If we don’t have enough fluid, wehave issues that can impact the body indifferent ways,” says Sundberg. “Forexample, we need fluid to help witheating and digestion, getting nutrients