When even a small percentage of water in your body is lost, every function in your body is impaired. Symptoms of chronic dehydration will begin to appear when the body loses as little as two to three percent of total body water.
The average adult loses about 10 cups water every day, simply by breathing, sweating, urinating and eliminating waste.
Researchers also estimate that 50 to 75 percent of Australians suffer from chronic dehydration and don’t realise it. This is partly because the symptoms of chronic dehydration are often mistaken for illness.
Common Symptoms of Chronic Dehydration
Water is the most important source of energy in the body. Dehydration causes the enzymatic activity in the body to slow down, producing tiredness and fatigue. Thus, one of the earliest signs of chronic dehydration is fatigue.
The colon is one of the first places the body pulls water when it is short of water in order to provide fluids for other critical functions in the body. Without adequate water, wastes move through the large intestines much more slowly. In fact, sometimes they don’t move at all. Thus, constipation is almost always one of the primary symptoms of chronic dehydration.
High blood pressure
The blood is normally about 94 percent water when the body is fully hydrated. When dehydrated, the blood is thicker causing resistance to blood flow, which thus can raise blood pressure.
When the body is dehydrated, it will produce more cholesterol to seal off water loss from the cells. Cholesterol deposits within the cell membrane act to prevent additional cell water loss, ultimately for survival.
The ideal environment for the health of the body is slightly alkaline. Our blood, in fact, is always slightly alkaline, usually ranging between 7.3 and 7.4 pH (7.0 being neutral). Dehydration significantly reduces the ability of the body to eliminate acid wastes.
The body needs an adequate supply of water to produce a wide array of digestive juices. A shortage of water and alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, can lead to a host of digestive disorders, including ulcers, gastritis and acid reflux.
Asthma and allergies
Another way the body rations water when dehydrated, as a survival mechanism, is by restricting airways. Respiratory problems are key symptoms of chronic dehydration. The rate of histamine produced by the body increases exponentially as the body loses more and more water. According to Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, chronic dehydration “is the primary cause of allergies and asthma in the human body.” Drinking plenty of water is the single most important natural remedy for asthma.
When dehydrated, cells are depleted of energy. They then have to rely on energy generation from food rather than water. People thus tend to eat more when, in reality, the body is thirsty. In addition, the body will not metabolize fat unless the body is adequately hydrated to safely remove dangerous toxins that are often stored in fat cells.
The skin is the largest elimination organ in the human body. In a dehydrated body, the first site for water conservation is the skin. Dehydration impairs the elimination of toxins through the skin and makes it more vulnerable to all types of skin disorders, including dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as premature wrinkling and discoloration.
Joint pain or stiffness
All joints have cartilage padding, which covers the bone structures in the joint, providing necessary lubrication. The cartilage itself is composed mainly of water. When the body is dehydrated, cartilage is weakened and joint repair is slow. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the joints in which the pain is felt depends on where the localized drought has set in.
Bladder or kidney problems
As with all of the organs of elimination, when the body is dehydrated, toxins are not eliminated as well. The accumulation of toxins and acid waste create an environment where bacteria thrive. Thus, when dehydrated the bladder and kidney become more prone to infection, inflammation and pain.
When the body is chronically dehydrated, the skin begins to wrinkle prematurely. More importantly, what we don’t see is the same wrinkling and withering effect on the internal organs. The most effective and the most inexpensive way (by far!) to slow the aging process is to drink enough water, especially as we get older.
This article has been adapted from the original article posted on www.waterforbenefits.com