What Dehydration Does to Your Body
by Laura Newcomer
None of us would be alive today if it weren’t for water. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60 percent water; many of our internal organs are composed of well over that amount. Even our bones are around 30 percent water! That’s how integral this element is to our bodies and lives.
Not only does water make up a large percentage of our body weight, but it also helps regulate internal body temperature, metabolize food, flush waste, and lubricate joints. Water allows cells to grow and survive and carries oxygen throughout our bodies.
Given all this, it should come as no surprise that when our bodies don’t have enough water, things can go seriously awry. When we don’t have enough fluid, our regulatory systems have to pick and choose which of the functions listed above take priority and compromise on the rest. Depending on the level of dehydration, effects can be mild – say, a faint headache – or severe, such as seizures or coma.
In short, fluid levels are nothing to mess with. Here’s how to identify dehydration’s symptoms and causes, treat it once it starts, and prevent it before it ever has a chance to wreak havoc on your water-loving body.
Laura Newcomer is a writer, editor, and educator with multiple years of experience working in the environmental and personal wellness space. Laura lives and works in Pennsylvania. Her writing has been published in the Washington Post, TIME Healthland, Greatist, DailyBurn, Lifehacker, and Business Insider, among others. She has taught environmental education to students of all ages in both Pennsylvania and Maine, and prioritizes living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. She’s a big proponent of creating self-sustaining communities and accessible healthy food systems that care for both people and the earth.
An avid outdoorswoman, she can often be found hiking, kayaking, backpacking, and tending to her garden.