Dehydration: A Major Threat

Water plays a very important role in maintaining various bodily functions. The body’s cells, organs, and tissues, all use water for functioning properly. Water helps various organ systems to run smoothly including the digestive system, nervous system, blood circulation, regulating body temperature, and so on. Blood transports the vital nutrients necessary for each organ with the help of water. Drinking less insufficient water leads to dehydration.

On average, in general, an adult must drink at least 7-8 glasses of water per day which is approximately 1.5 to 2 liters. However, this recommendation is only general and not backed by evidence. One should however learn to recognize signs and symptoms of inadequate hydration and avoid causing harm to one’s health.

Also Read: Stay Hydrated this Summer

What does dehydration do to our body?

The body’s functions will change causing a condition known as dehydration. Dehydration and its effects are reversible in most cases by ingestion of water and in some instances additional nutrients like electrolytes, but in severe conditions, it may be fatal. Athletes, pregnant women, people involved in doing vigorous exercises, people living at higher altitudes, those suffering from sicknesses like diabetes, and older adults are usually at higher risk of dehydration. Here are certain signs and symptoms worth noting:


Thirst is the basic feeling of the body because of dehydration. Our body feels thirsty when the level of water required drops by about 1 percent. Drink water immediately. In cases where you ignore thirst constantly, it may turn out that the body forgets to tell that it is thirsty and gives signals of hunger instead. You may want to eat more sugary foods where actually your body requires more fluids.

Darker urine

Darker-colored urine and/or mild discomfort while urinating indicates that your body is not getting enough water. On the other hand, clear urine indicates adequate intake of water.

Dry mucosal membranes

When the inner layers of the nose, eye, and throat start becoming dry, it is an indication that you need to drink water. When the body doesn’t get enough water, the cells do not get enough moisture and become dry.

Low metabolic rate

When you do not drink adequate water, the digestive rate or metabolic rate becomes low and a feeling of low energy and laziness settles in.

Increased heart rate

A decrease in water content in the body leads to a decrease in blood volume. This results in inadequate transport of oxygen and other important metabolites to the tissues, causing the heart rate to go up to pump more blood.

Muscle weakness and cramps

The muscles need various nutrients and minerals to function properly. They need to be moistened so that their elasticity is maintained. But when the water intake is reduced or the body starts becoming dehydrated, then they become inelastic or flaccid making it hard to do even simple work.

Dizziness and headache

Water helps in carrying all the essential nutrients to all the parts of the body. Making them function properly. It disturbs the process and leads to dizziness and headache.

Dry skin and reduced skin elasticity

The skin becomes reddish and loses its elasticity as the moisture level starts decreasing. It also causes an itching sensation and irritation over the skin as the cells start to lose their ability to function and dead skin starts to accumulate.


People with dehydration will experience fatigue. Because it affects their bodily functions adversely.

Inability to concentrate

Persons suffering from dehydration often lack concentration as the brain functions also get disturbed and the body develops other associated symptoms like irritation for normal activities.

Written by MedPlus