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Do you ever wonder if your headache relates to your hydration status? Do you ever think about whether or not you are drinking enough water throughout the day?
You’re not alone! Take our Am I Dehydrated Quiz below!
Kelly and I always (and I mean, alwayssss) discuss hydration with our clients because it is part of your overall nutritional status. Someone who is constantly dehydrated will suffer from symptoms of lethargy, lightheadedness, dry skin, headaches, among others.
If the symptoms I mention above seem familiar, you might be dehydrated. Are your lips dry and sticky? Do you constantly feel thirsty, irritable, or tired? Do you urinate less often than usual, or find that it is dark in color? The answers to these questions may help us identify if you are indeed dehydrated.
Take this simple “Am I Dehydrated Quiz to find out if you need to focus on your water consumption or not. Please know that this quiz only contains questions pertaining to common symptoms of dehydration. This quiz does not qualify as a diagnostic measure (see disclaimer below).
But first, let’s talk about why hydration is essential for our health.
Dehydration can be dangerous
Dehydration can be a very dangerous condition, especially if left untreated. Symptoms of dehydration can start with symptoms that can be seemingly harmless like headaches, lightheadedness, dry mouth and lips, thirst, reduced urine output, and feeling tired or irritable. Dehydration can take a turn for the worse with symptoms like elevated resting heart rate, low blood pressure, rapid breathing, confusion, and eventual death.
Dehydration affects more than just your skin and mouth. It can lead to a number of serious health problems, including heat stroke, seizures, and even death. So it is very important people evaluate the amount of water they are consuming on a daily basis.
Why do we need water?
Water is essential for the body to function properly. It is used to help regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and oxygen to cells, and flush toxins and waste products from the body. In order to keep your body hydrated, it is important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Common Reasons for Dehydration
The most common reasons for dehydration are heat exposure and strenuous physical activity. When the body becomes overheated, it sweats in an attempt to cool down.
If this sweat is not replaced by drinking fluids, dehydration can occur. Similarly, vigorous exercise can cause the body to lose fluid through sweat and respiration. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to dehydration due to the loss of fluids and electrolytes.
Sources of Water
Good sources of hydration include water, milk, juice, and soup. Although many dietitians will insist that you drink water as the main source of hydration, you can obtain some water from water-rich fruits and vegetables.
For example, cucumbers, celery, lettuce and watermelon are ultra rich in water and therefore, can count as a hydrating food source. The same can apply to soups and juices, however, we must keep in mind their sodium or sugar content.
Sodium, or salt, functions to pull water from your body into your vascular system increasing your blood pressure. This is why we must be very careful to meet our hydration needs as well as watch our sodium intake.
Another important point to remember is that there are liquids that, although they are liquids, they may not be hydrating liquids. Two main examples of this are coffee and alcohol.
Coffee is a diuretic, which means that it causes you to urinate more frequently. Although coffee makes a wonderful morning drink, your body will need water to counteract the increased urination.
Now, I don’t want to alarm anyone with this. The diuretic effect of coffee is not drastic. My point is that coffee is not inherently hydrating and therefore drinking coffee all day may lead to dehydration.
Alcohol is another dehydrating liquid. Alcohol is also a diuretic and it travels through your body faster compared to other liquids. Ever notice that after a night of consuming a lot of alcohol you crave a lot of water? Many times that horrible headache that comes after overindulging relates to dehydration.
Calculating your Water Needs
There is no one magic formula for calculating how much water to drink per day. However, a good rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. You may need to drink more or less depending on your activity level, climate, and overall health.
Do you want to know what YOUR individual hydrations are? Work with Kelly and I! We always give out individual hydration needs for each of our clients. We also talk about hydration in our group program that will be ready super soon.
If you are experiencing symptoms of dehydration, it is important to drink more fluids and talk to your dietitian or doctor.
How to Spot Classic Signs of Dehydration
One of the easiest ways to tell if you are dehydrated is by checking the color of your urine. A healthy urine should be light yellow or straw-colored. If your urine is darker than this, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated.
Another indication of dehydration is a decrease in urination. If you are not urinating as often as usual, or your urine is very dark, this may be a sign that you need to drink more fluids.
Dehydrated urine output usually has a very strong odor. If you notice, the first urine of the day usually tends to have a pronounced smell. This is because your first urine of the day is the accumulation of byproducts and toxins filtered through the night. Odor and color of your urine can be a sign that you might be dehydrated.
Want to know if you might be at risk of dehydration? Take our Am I Dehydrated Quiz! Link below!
What if I don’t like water?
Don’t like water? Or forget to drink water? Here is what we registered dietitians often advise people to do.
Buy yourself a good reusable water bottle that YOU like. Don’t buy the one that is on sale or one that you found in your mother’s house. Buy one that you enjoy looking at and having around. This often makes a much bigger difference than you might think!
Add a splash of flavor to your water. Add mint, cucumbers, berries, or a splash of juice! Sometimes even just the visual appeal of having something deep purple at the bottom of your water bottle can entice you to take another sip.
Add ice to your water or make it an herbal tea. Temperature can make a big difference. If it’s warm outside, warm water sounds awful. If it’s cold outside, maybe something warm can help you feel better. Pay attention to what you enjoy and meet your hydration needs!
Start with diet soda or diet juice. It’s ok! Before you completely disregard the rest of this article, hear me out! If you’re not used to drinking plain water, start with soda or juice alternatives. Drinking diet soda or juice may help you stop craving sweet things and help with your hydration status!
The human body is a complex machine that needs water in order to function properly. Water in our bodies provides a number of essential functions, including regulating the body’s temperature, transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, and flushing toxins from the body. So please, if you notice some of the signs of dehydration, grab some water! Stay hydrated out there!
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and should NOT be used as individual medical or nutritional advice. The “Am I Dehydrated Quiz” is NOT intended as a diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any disease, and is NOT intended as a substitute for regular medical care.