Chronic dehydration: causes and remedies
In 2016, on the occasion of World Water Day, a survey of French people told us that 75% of them had daily water intake less than the minimum 1.5L of water required and recommended. by the Ministry of Health to maintain his level of hydration. In other words, three quarters of French people are dehydrated daily.
[ Toluna sodastream study ]
Understanding chronic dehydration :
Dehydration is above all an imbalance in our water balance: the water and electrolyte intake is not sufficient to make up for the losses, causing disorders in the body.
We consume water because water is an essential element for the constitution and functioning of our body. Every day, our body uses water to run its metabolism (transport of dissolved substances to cells, transit, chemical reactions, etc.) but also to breathe, eliminate waste (via urine) and maintain body temperature. . This use of water causes losses that must be compensated by an adequate water supply. If the losses are greater than the inflows, it leads to dehydration.
With a more scientific approach, to understand the phenomena of dehydration, it is necessary to know that in the body, the movements of water are linked to those of electrolytes and in particular of sodium (Na+), directly involved in the distribution of water. water in intra and extra cellular media.
The intracellular environment corresponds to the interior of our cells. The extracellular medium corresponds to everything that is outside the cell, that is to say the intercellular spaces (between cells): tissues, blood, lymph.
A large loss of sodium will also cause a large loss of water because water follows sodium. If the loss of Na+ occurs in the intra and extra-cellular media, these two media will be impacted by a concomitant water leak, this is global dehydration.
[ Global dehydration ]
Dehydration is not a disease strictly speaking, but it can have significant consequences on health and lead to pathologies. Indeed, in the event of severe dehydration, the body is no longer able to function properly and the lack of water will have repercussions on several organs:
Without water, the kidney is unable to fulfill its function of filter and elimination, we speak of renal insufficiency. The cardiovascular system is also affected, the blood becomes more viscous following severe dehydration, the heart must therefore provide more work to eject the blood in the vessels causing hypertension, beyond a threshold, the volume blood decreases suddenly resulting in hypovolemic shock. This can have major repercussions on the brain and lead to a coma or even death without rapid therapeutic treatment. [ Kidney Effects/ Heart Effects ]
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent dehydration using simple means, by treating the origin of the dehydration and by drinking water regularly and in quantity adapted to the environment.
The origin of chronic dehydration can be multiple. Sweating is one of the main sources of dehydration. Sweat is composed mainly of water, so sweating rhymes with loss of water. This is why excessive sweating can be the cause of dehydration, especially when you are in a risky situation such as a heat wave or during intensive sports sessions. During a sports practice, the water losses are also pulmonary, and increased by the hyperventilation caused by the effort.
Then, digestive disorders (diarrhea, vomiting) cause increased water loss that can lead to dehydration, just as certain metabolic situations are more at risk of causing dehydration: diabetics (type 1) eliminate more water because of of the accumulation of sugar in the blood. It is therefore all the more important for them to be sufficiently hydrated. [ cause of chronic dehydration ]
How do you know if you have chronic dehydration?
There are a series of symptoms that should alert you to your level of hydration. Thirst is the body's first warning sign when you think of dehydration, but it appears too late contrary to what you might think. To be thirsty is already to have a level of hydration that is too low.
The decrease in blood volume generated by the lack of water leads to poorer tissue oxygenation. This then results in a multitude of associated symptoms such as headache and fatigue, aggravated by hypotension. Pale skin can help you spot low blood pressure. The poor oxygenation of the body caused by the lack of water also causes cold sweats, hands and feet are cold. To compensate for the lack of oxygen, the pulse quickens, this is called tachycardia, your heart beats faster.
Some signs of dehydration are more obvious to spot: a small quantity of urine and its dark color are an excellent marker of chronic dehydration, as well as weight loss (up to 20% of the initial weight) and the presence of skin folds, like those you may have after staying in a bath for too long.
How to deal with chronic dehydration?
To avoid chronic dehydration, it is best to anticipate your level of hydration in order to have sufficient water intake throughout the day. We give you some tips to know if you are well hydrated. First of all, watch your weight, it is an excellent indicator of your level of hydration because, at the beginning, a loss of weight is correlated with a loss of water. A weight that remains stable is therefore reassuring.
You can also check your skin fold, which is to lightly pinch your skin to see if it quickly returns to its original state. If not, you are probably running out of water.
Finally, carrying out a biological blood test such as an ionogram, indicating in particular the level of sodium in the blood, is a slightly more advanced indicator of your state of hydration.
You will have understood that anticipating your thirst is the best way to avoid all the inconveniences and dangers of chronic dehydration. For optimal hydration throughout the day, Hydratis offers you an interesting alternative to a classic glass of water. Thanks to a pellet enriched with minerals (sodium, potassium, chloride, zinc) and glucose, the absorption of water is accelerated in your body, allowing you to make up for both water and mineral salt losses much more effectively than with water alone.