If you’re thirsty, that’s the most obvious sign you’re dehydrated, which is what happens when your body doesn’t have enough fluid to perform at its peak.
Being dehydrated doesn’t only mean your body is losing water — it also means you’re losing electrolytes, such as salt and potassium, which help your body breathe, move, talk, and do all the other things it needs to do to stay up and running.
Certain health conditions, including diabetes, can put you at an increased risk for dehydration. If you’ve been sweating too much due to heat or overexertion, throwing up or having diarrhoea due to the flu or another acute illness, or urinating frequently, it’s important to watch your fluid intake.
1. Bad Breath Is a Possible Warning Sign of Dehydration
Saliva has antibacterial properties, but dehydration can prevent your body from making enough saliva.
If you’re not producing enough saliva, you can get bacterial overgrowth in the mouth, and one of the side effects of that is bad breath.
2. Dry or Flushed Skin Could Be a Symptom of Dehydration
A lot of people think that people who get dehydrated are really sweaty, but in fact, as you go through various stages of dehydration, you get very dry skin.
When pinched, the skin of a dehydrated person may remain “tented” and take some time to return to its normal, flat appearance.
3. Muscle Cramps Are a Dehydration Symptom, Likely From Heat Illness
When your body loses enough fluid, it’s unable to cool itself off adequately, leading to heat illness. One symptom to look out for is muscle cramps, which can happen while exercising, particularly in hot weather.
The hotter you get, the more likely you are to get muscle cramps, and that’s from a pure heat effect on the muscles. As the muscles work harder and harder, they can seize up from the heat itself. Changes in the electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, can lead to muscle cramping as well.
Even in cooler weather, dehydration is possible if you don’t drink enough fluids while working out. Symptoms may be milder or come on slower, but dehydration carries the same risks, regardless of the temperature outside.
4. Fever and Chills Are More Symptoms of Heat Illness, Which Causes Dehydration
Other symptoms of heat illness include fever and chills. You may sweat profusely while your skin is cool to the touch.
Fever can worsen dehydration. The higher the fever, the more dehydrated you may become. Unless your body temperature decreases, your skin will lose its cool clamminess and then become hot, flushed, and dry to the touch.
At this point, it’s important that you cool yourself down immediately and see a medical professional.
Applying ice and cool, wet cloths, and moving to a cool area are short-term strategies until you can see a medical professional.
5. Food Cravings, Especially for Sweets, May Just Mean You’re Thirsty
When you’re dehydrated, it can be difficult for organs such as the liver, which uses water, to release glycogen [stored glucose] and other components of your energy stores, so you can actually get cravings for food.
While you can crave anything from chocolate to a salty snack, cravings for sweets are more common because your body may be experiencing difficulty breaking down glycogen to release glucose into the bloodstream to use as fuel.
6. Headaches Could Be a Sign You Need to Drink More Water
Even mild dehydration can cause a dehydration headache and trigger a migraine headache.
Although various factors besides dehydration can cause headaches, drinking a full glass of water and continuing to sip more fluids during the day is an easy way to ease your pain if, in fact, dehydration is a culprit.
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