Persistent dehydration can result in various uncomfortable and potentially painful issues.
We all understand the significance of staying adequately hydrated by consuming an ample amount of fluids during the day, with a particular focus on water. Our bodies require water for various purposes, such as regulating internal temperature, lubricating joints, and eliminating waste.
While a brief period without drinking may not have significant consequences, prolonged dehydration can lead to severe issues. Andy Blow, a sports scientist and the founder of Precision Hydration, discussed this matter with Express.co.uk.
“In the short term, insufficient water intake will result in an increased feeling of thirst because the body is highly effective at compelling us to drink when necessary, as it is crucial for our survival,” he explained.
“Considering that most individuals have unrestricted access to water, it is uncommon for someone to become severely dehydrated when free water is available; the urge to drink to alleviate thirst usually prevents this,” he noted.
Nonetheless, Andy Blow cautioned against the potential hazards of prolonged dehydration.
He stated, “Water is indispensable for survival, and virtually all bodily functions depend on water to function properly in one way or another. Failing to consume enough water over an extended period puts you at risk of chronic dehydration.”
Andy outlined the symptoms to watch for when it comes to chronic dehydration.
He explained, “Indications of prolonged dehydration include constipation, dry skin, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, and potentially issues like kidney stones and bladder infections.”
He continued, “If you frequently experience thirst, notice very dark urine, have infrequent urination, and suffer from headaches, these could all indicate signs of more persistent dehydration.”
The NHS also warns that dehydration may lead to:
- Strong-smelling urine
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dry mouth, lips, and tongue
- Sunken eyes.
Andy emphasized the importance of “listening to your body” in determining your water consumption needs.
Andy clarified that there isn’t a universal rule or specific amount of water that applies to everyone when it comes to morning hydration.
He explained, “There’s no ‘one size fits all’ rule for whether you should drink water in the morning, nor a set amount that can be prescribed.”
However, he advised, “Many people wake up with varying degrees of thirst, and it’s sensible to listen to your body and drink if you feel the need to.”
He added, “In general, if you wake up feeling thirsty and your morning urine is dark in color, these may be indicators of potential dehydration, and it would be wise to rehydrate.”
The NHS recommends a daily intake of between six and eight glasses of water or other fluids.
The health body recommends that for most individuals, the goal should be to drink enough throughout the day to maintain urine that is a clear pale yellow color.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, in a hot environment, engaging in prolonged physical activity, or if you are ill or recovering from an illness, you may need to increase your fluid intake beyond your usual levels.
In case you experience any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to call 111 or schedule an urgent GP appointment:
- Unusual fatigue (or if your child appears drowsy)
- Confusion and disorientation
- Persistent dizziness upon standing that doesn’t resolve
- Dark yellow urine or decreased urine output (or if your baby has reduced wet nappies)
- Rapid breathing or an elevated heart rate for you or your child
- Insufficient or absent tears when your baby cries
- A sunken soft spot on your baby’s head (sunken fontanelle).
By FIONA CALLINGHAM, Health Reporter who specializes in medical studies, symptoms of diseases and conditions, real-life stories, and the latest public health issues.