The Importance of Staying Hydrated
As summer nears, more people will be spending time outdoors playing and working in the sun and hot, humid temperatures. Staying hydrated should be one of your top priorities any time you are in the heat or are performing vigorous activities that cause you to perspire. In order to prevent being one of the many people who find their way to the Costa Mesa medical clinic each summer for urgent treatment, drinking enough fluids is essential. Not only does it matter how much you drink; what you drink matters, as well.
Water plays a vital role in your body’s health. According to an article on familydoctor.com, water is needed to regulate the body’s temperature, to eliminate waste, and to act as a lubricant for the joints. When the water that is lost through perspiration and other body processes is not replaced, dehydration can occur. This can produce a wide range of symptoms including:
- Decrease or lack of urine
- Dark colored urine
- Dizziness or a feeling of being lightheaded
- Inability to think clearly
- Loss of tear production
- Dry mouth/throat
Becoming dehydrated puts a greater workload on your heart. The loss of water leads to a lower volume of blood pumping through your veins. In response, the body speeds up the heart rate to increase the volume of blood. This can impact your blood pressure in either direction. Another complication that can result from dehydration is heat stroke. The body naturally cools itself through perspiration. When it is unable to do this efficiently, the temperature of the core of the body may rise to a temperature over 105° F, meeting the definition of heat stroke. If you experience signs of excessive thirst, headache, weakness, or loss of consciousness, you should seek urgent care at an Orange County medical clinic immediately.
Take a Preventive Approach to Dehydration
The best approach to preventing dehydration is to make sure you are adequately hydrated before you go out into the heat or participate in activities that could deplete your body’s water supply. Prevention is the best approach to dehydration. Knowing the importance of staying hydrated, and recognizing the symptoms of dehydration, will help you protect your body from the damage and discomfort of the condition. Although athletes are at a high risk of developing dehydration, children and seniors are also at a greater risk. Any time anyone stays outdoors in the heat for any length of time, they should take steps to hydrate their body first, to protect their health.
Water is the best drink for preventing dehydration in most situations. For athletes, sports drinks may be extra helpful for replacing electrolytes they lose during play. Caffeinated drinks should be avoided, as they can have the opposite effect and cause the body to lose more water. Sodas and other sugary drinks should also be avoided. Although many people simply do not enjoy drinking water, adding the juice from a freshly squeezed slice of lemon or drinking flavored water can make it a more enjoyable experience for most. To learn more about the symptoms of dehydration, and when to visit the Costa Mesa medical clinic for symptoms, call 949-548-8400.