4 Lesser-Known Signs of Dehydration

With summer nearly upon us, people are spending more time outside. More outside activities plus warm weather can lead to a common problem: Dehydration.

While dehydration isn’t only a summer problem, it becomes more common during warmer months. Water is lost through vapor in the breath and sweat; heat and intense activity, therefore, can accelerate this process.

Most people know some of the common signs of dehydration such as increased thirst, decreased urine output and faintness. However, dehydration symptoms also come in a multitude of lesser known forms.

Muscle Cramps

Frequent gym goers may know that dehydration leads to muscle cramps, but not a lot of other people do. This is particularly true because cramps are common and can be caused by a multitude of factors.

However, if you find yourself in the heat or working double time at the gym, cramps can be a good sign that you need water. Even something as simple as walking can cause cramps if you’re dehydrated.

When muscles are used voluntarily, they alternately expand and contract with the movement. A cramp is, therefore, involuntary contracting of the muscle. When you work out hard at the gym or outside, your muscles are susceptible to seizing up just because of the heat. Dehydration can also lead to a change in sodium and potassium levels, which can also contribute to muscle cramps.

Dry Skin

Most people think of dry skin as a winter problem, but the reality is that dry skin can be a surefire sign you’re dehydrated. In fact, as you go through the various stages of dehydration you lose blood volume and as a result your skin becomes dry.

So how can you tell the difference between regular dry skin (as in this is just your skin type) and dehydrated skin? Dehydrated skin is usually flaky, itchy and less supple. It also doesn’t spring back quickly if you fold it.

You Get Cranky

Next time you’re feeling moody, pick up a glass of water.

Researchers tested the mood and cognitive abilities of 25 women, some of which were fully hydrated and some of which were introduced into a mild state of dehydration. The women who were slightly dehydrated showed symptoms of lower mood, crankiness, fatigue and fogginess.

Hunger

Sometimes people confuse dehydration for hunger. When you become dehydrated it can be difficult for nutrients and organs to do their job in releasing glycogen to the body. This is especially true if you’ve been very active, because your body loses glycogen at a faster rate.

Not having enough fluids can also drive up your blood sugar because the limited amount of sugar you have in circulation becomes more concentrated. While everyone is different, sugar cravings tend to be very common when you’re dehydrated to make up for the lack of glycogen.

If you feel any of these symptoms during the summer months, drink an extra glass of water. If left untreated dehydration can become severe and in extreme cases lead to death. Make sure to especially keep an eye on the hydration of children, as they can be more susceptible.

Image credit: Baileysjunk via Flickr

120 comments

Maria P
Maria P3 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Mike R
Mike R3 months ago

Thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Angela Malafouris

How 2 Overcharge with water H2O rules!

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks

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Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly3 years ago

And try NOT to use discardable plastic bottles? I watch shows on screen and people drink from bottles while sitting in their kitchens. Forget to buy glasses or are you just lazy?

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago

ty

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Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

thank you

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Sensible advice thank you

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Val D.
Val D3 years ago

Thank you for the reminder, now I will drink some water! Seriously.

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