Dehydration risks - Risks, Warning Signs, and Prevention tips

Do you drink enough of the world’s healthiest beverages? Yes, I’m talking about water, friends. Many people don’t drink nearly enough. And I want you all to escape the disease of dehydration that plagues so many of us in the modern society today. I want you to begin foregoing the artificially flavored sodas and sugary beverages. Because these drinks are actually more harmful to your health than they are good. Water is pure. Well, as pure as it can be today. Plus, its health benefits are vast. We sorely need to drink the right amount of water each day to rid the body of toxins and help the body’s natural digestive processes. 

What’s more, there are grave risks associated with chronic dehydration. Chronic dehydration is linked to all kinds of disease processes. And oftentimes, we don’t even know if we’re dehydrated. However, there are warning signs and symptoms that accompany dehydration, which we’ll cover in this article. We’re also going to look at effective prevention tips and creative ways to make sure you stay properly hydrated—starting today, and for the rest of your life.  

clear drinking glass on gray surface

Dehydrations risks and dangers

The risks of chronic dehydration are many. Which is why we’re diving deep into the topic of water. While it appears like a simple topic on the surface, delve deeper, and you’ll see it’s not. Many risk factors for chronic disease come about when you’ve been dehydrated for years. If not medically treated, some serious situations can occur. Here are some of them: 

  • You might experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke
  • You might get seizures as seizures are associated with the loss of electrolytes
  • You could fall into a coma
  • You lose blood volume
  • Your kidneys fail

Of course, before any of these things happen, you have time to get to the hospital. And young children, as well as elderly adults need medical attention as soon as they suspect even moderate dehydration. For all age groups, pay attention to the following warning signs:

  • You’ve been having severe bouts of diarrhea for more than three days
  • You’ve been seeing blood in your stool
  • You’ve been disoriented
  • You have trouble keeping liquids down, and have been vomiting

selective focus photography of girl drinking water

Short-term rehydration treatment

When dehydration gets that bad, and you need to seek medical intervention, here’s what to expect:

Rehydration treatment in its most extreme case will take place in the form of intravenous fluid hydration. But, that’s only for those unable to keep any liquids down. For people who can drink naturally, they’re given fluids pumped up with electrolytes. Sports drinks like Gatorade are often given to adults, Pedialyte to children. You can make your own DIY electrolyte potion by combining 1 liter of water with 5-6 teaspoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. If you’re at home in the summer months, and have just come in from a long, sweaty bike ride, or day in the sun without enough water, feel free to drink this naturally hydrating drink when you get home. 

Why do we get dehydrated?

There are all sorts of reasons we become dehydrated. The most obvious is not drinking enough water. Certain pharmaceutical medications can make you dehydrated. So can drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Drinks with loads of sugar in them are also dehydrating in nature. Being at a high altitude can cause dehydration, and so can being sunburned. When you sweat in excess, you need to drink more water as it’s easy to become dehydrated that way. It goes without saying that athletes need to drink more water than the average person. But, so do the elderly. And children. Those with chronic illness also need to drink up.

If you work outside as a construction worker, building houses or digging holes and ditches for a living, landscaping, doing mechanical work under a car, or welding, you’re going to need to drink loads of water, especially in the summer. If you’ve been vomiting, for whatever reason, you’ll naturally become dehydrated. And if you happen to have excessive diarrhea, chances are, you’ll need to drink more water. And then, of course, when you’re sick with the flu, you’ll need to drink extra amounts of water. As you can see, there are many ways the body loses water and needs to replenish. 

man drinking from a tumbler


Warning signs that you’re chronically dehydrated

Chronic dehydration and acute dehydration are two different things. We all get a little dehydrated from time to time. It happens. If you’re dehydrated in the short term, you’ll likely see that your urine is yellow, rather than pale yellow or clear. Just drink enough until your urine is clear and you’ll be fine. Chronic dehydration shows up in these ways:

  • Your urine is consistently dark yellow
  • You have bad breath all the time
  • You don’t go to the bathroom much
  • You crave sugary foods
  • You’re tired all the time
  • You have dry mouth
  • Your tongue swells
  • You’re experiencing chronic headaches
  • You don’t tear up easily
  • You’re excessively thirsty

More extreme signs that you’re chronically dehydrated are: sunken eyes, shriveled skin, rapid breathing, dizziness, fainting, disorientation, and heart palpitations. As you can see, these are serious symptoms to look out for. But, there’s no need to ever let things get this bad. Fun and effective solutions exist, and we’ll look at them below. 

Why drink more water?

Your body needs water. Plain and simple. It’s important to know why, so that you can stay motivated to keep the water flowing freely.  

  • Water keeps your body from overheating
  • Water prevents constipation
  • Water helps with weight loss
  • Water keeps your muscles and joints working optimally
  • Water is necessary for your organs and all their miraculous ways of functioning.

10 Fun ways to drink more water

Enough of the doom and gloom. Let’s take a look at some effective solutions. Here are 10 creative ways to get into the healthy habit of drinking more water throughout your day. If you remain properly hydrated now, and integrate these habits into your daily life, your chances of becoming dehydrated in the future will be far less. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Spice up your water

If you’ve ever enjoyed a day at the spa, you were probably treated to a nice glass of cucumber water, lemon water, or even water with berries floating in it. Chances are, the ambiance of the spa, as well as the water’s lovely flavor, made you drink more of it than you normally would. Well, we can do the same! Why not treat yourself to a water bottle with its very own fruit infuser? This is a great (and effective) way to make drinking water more fun. Once you do, get creative. Play around with the many ways to infuse plain drinking water with fruits and veggies, or even orange peels! 

Purchase a pretty reusable water bottle 

Do you have a beautiful water bottle to drink from throughout the day? I’m talking about one that’s truly aesthetically pleasing to your eye. If not, get yourself one today. Refilling this lovely bottle throughout the day is a surefire way to keep drinking! You want to enjoy the experience. You want to get pleasure from the very simple act of drinking water. If you enjoy drinking from a straw, get a stainless steel one to add to your bottle. Do whatever it takes to make drinking water a treat for all your senses! 

Be like the yogis and sip warm water throughout the day

In the fall and winter, I encourage you to take on an Ayurvedic ritual—that of sipping warm water intermittently throughout the day. You’re not going to want cold, icy water, anyway. And this Ayurvedic way of drinking is believed to be really good for your digestive health. In fact, it’s a natural healing remedy that’s been implemented for thousands of years in India. This way of drinking water might seem weird at first. But, give it a shot. You’ll get used to it. I certainly did, and found it to be a soothing way of staying hydrated, especially during the months of the year when temperatures drop. And because it keeps you warm, it’s an ideal strategy to stay properly hydrated. 

Drink 16 ounces when you wake  

One of the best ways to get your bowels moving in the morning is to drink 2 large glasses of water as soon as you get up in the morning. This cleanses the system and sets you up for the day. I typically use the bathroom first thing, then pour myself about 16 ounces of water. As I make coffee, I drink this water, knowing I can then enjoy the coffee slowly as I meditate. It’s a morning routine that helps keep me regular and grounded. Morning rituals are so important, and this is one I won’t stop doing. Dehydration first thing in the morning just feels right. What’s more, the taste of plain water is more enticing first thing in the morning when your taste buds haven’t tasted anything for hours. This is a great habit to jumpstart your new and improved water-drinking regimen. 

Get water from food

If you aren’t yet efficiently drinking water, why not eat foods that contain mostly water? You can consume much of your water for the day simply by eating tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, and other water-rich foods. Have a grapefruit with your breakfast. Enjoy a Greek salad for lunch. Eat watermelon for dessert. These are all wonderfully tasty ways to prevent dehydration throughout the day.

Keep a water journal

These days, they’ve got an app for everything—even one for tracking your water intake. If you’re not technologically minded, and want to set the smart phone aside, keep a little water journal. With it, track your water intake, which will help bring more awareness to the simple act of drinking water. This will no doubt help you drink more, and keep you motivated. Why not reward yourself once you’ve reached your goals? Whatever works is the name of the game!  

Drink your spirits in moderation 

We all love our wine, don’t we? Or beer, or vodka tonic, or…

But, alcohol, like coffee and sugary beverages, actually dehydrates us. This is why we get hungover the morning after overindulging. When you do enjoy alcoholic beverages, simply alternate each drink with a glass of water. This is the smartest thing you can do to stay hydrated and prevent a dreadful morning after hangover. 

Exercise, sweat, hydrate

I love the way intense exercise naturally makes me drink more water. Whenever you sweat, you’re losing water, and the body automatically wants to replace that water. Plus, sweating out the toxins that have accumulated in the body is always a good idea. Then, replacing that icky stuff with pure water is even better! So, exercise, sweat, and hydrate. This a great 3-step mantra to keep you hydrated throughout the day. 

Partner up to hydrate

We’re all dehydrated these days. Your best friend probably is, too. Just like a workout buddy, partner up with a water drinking buddy. Sometimes we just need a friend with similar health goals to help us stay motivated. Plus, accountability is always a good thing. Find a friend, keep track of your water drinking goals together, and inspire each other to stay the course! Two heads are better than one!

Rewards work 

Rewarding yourself as you would a child is a great way to prevent yourself from falling off the water wagon. Pining for that fancy coffee drink? Treat yourself every few days once you’ve fulfilled your water drinking goals. Buy yourself that fancy water bottle you’ve been eyeing online. Reward yourself with whatever brings you joy. Simple pleasures are the best! 

So, raise a glass of lemon water to your health! May you live long and drink up!