Why It’s Important To Drink Water

March 20th, 2014

Infants are particularly prone to dehydration, so it’s important that they drink plenty of water.Baby Drinking WaterImage via Henry Burrows (Flickr)

Why It’s Important to Drink Water

Often, the image of dehydration is depicted in humorous ways: cartoon characters crawling through the desert, a party at an oasis, people surfing sand waves. Truthfully, dehydration is deadly. We need water more than we need anything else to survive, and most people do not drink enough water. I’m hoping that if you’re one of those people, you’ll read on to learn why it’s so important to your body to drink water.

Basic Physiology

Our bodies’ own physiology backs up the importance of drinking water. If you go back to your science classes in school, you’ll probably remember that water is the key to life. Nothing on earth survives without water, including humans. Our bodies need water, and here are some basic facts behind the reasons why:

  • The adult human body is 60 percent water.
  • The human brain is 73 percent water.
  • The human heart is 73 percent water.
  • Your lungs are made up of 83 percent water.
  • Your skin is actually 64 percent water.
  • Your muscles are 79 percent water, as are your kidneys.
  • Your bones are 31 percent water.

Why So Much?

You might be asking why so much of the human body is made up of water. We don’t look like liquid beings, unless, of course, you’re watching a science fiction film! We are liquid beings, however, and the percentages listed above prove it. Water is critical to the human body from the moment we are conceived. Here’s why:

  • Water is nutritious to our cells, acting as a building material and keeping each cell alive.
  • Water regulates your body temperature.
  • Water is what metabolizes and transports the carbohydrates and proteins we digest through our bloodstream.
  • Water flushes dangerous waste out of our bodies.
  • Water protects the brain and spinal cord; think of it as shocks and struts for humans.
  • Water creates the saliva that aids in our digestion.
  • Water lubricates our joints, keeping them pain-free and mobile.

Dehydration Facts

You can see how important water is to us. Every cell in our body needs water to survive, and H2O does a tremendous amount to protect us from illness and injury. Water keeps us functioning properly, and if we don’t get enough of it, we become dehydrated. It might not seem like dehydration is something to be concerned about, but it is. Dehydration:

  • Compromises mental acuity
  • Affects your heartbeat
  • Disables your body’s ability to fight fever
  • Disables your body’s ability to regulate your blood pressure
  • Causes tiredness and fatigue
  • Results in electrolyte imbalance and possible death

Dehydration Causes

That list is heavy-duty, especially the last bullet. Dehydrating yourself really does pose serious health risks, especially to infants, children, the elderly, and pregnant women. Dehydration is commonplace in countries where water supplies are scarce and compromised, but we have plenty of drinkable water in the U.S. So how is it that we become dehydrated? It happens when we:

  • Do not drink enough water or eat enough watery foods
  • Are chronically ill
  • Are not drinking enough water during hot, humid weather or when we are exercising
  • Experience increased urine output due to high altitude or illness
  • Are suffering from diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Are running a high fever
  • Take diuretics or other medications that cause dehydration
  • Are pregnant

Dehydration Symptoms

Aside from knowing what causes dehydration so you can avoid it, you should also learn the symptoms of dehydration. If it’s caught early enough, all you need to do is drink some water. If a person is severely dehydrated, however, you must seek emergency medical care. If in doubt, definitely seek medical care. Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Inability to urinate, less urination than normal, and/or dark urine
  • Dry and/or tearless eyes
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cool and dry skin
  • Irregular, fast heartbeat
  • Fatigue, irritability, lethargy
  • Feelings of listlessness
  • Coma
  • In infants, a sunken fontanel (the soft spot) on the head

Dehydration Prevention

By now, I’m sure you don’t want to be dehydrated. I know I don’t! Perhaps the most frustrating thing about dehydration is how preventable it is. Yes, there are unpreventable circumstances that cause dehydration, but in most cases, this condition is avoidable. To prevent dehydrating yourself or a loved one, make certain you are getting enough water daily from healthy food and hydrating beverages. Drink extra water during strenuous activities; when the weather is warmer; if you are ill, particularly if you have diarrhea, are vomiting, or are running a fever; or if you are elderly.

As you can see by reading this blog, water really is important to our health and well-being. I’m a firm believer that the best way to get water is to drink it. You aren’t being properly hydrated from sodas or many other popular beverages you consume all day. Water that is properly filtered to ensure its optimal safety keeps our cells healthy and our bodies running efficiently. Why is it important to drink water? Now you know, so drink up!

 

Written By: Lynn Taylor


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