Our bodies are made up of 70 per cent water, so when you’re dehydrated, you are compromising yourself from essential nutrients that are necessary to live a healthy life.

While it may seem like dehydration is the simple act of drinking more water, in some cases, the issue can escalate and cause serious problems if pushed to the final stage.

So, what is dehydration?

When the term dehydration is used, people are generally referring to what medical professionals call “volume depletion” or hypovolaemia.

Volume depletion is a reduction in the volume of water in the blood vessels. But dehydration is not the same as hypovolaemia and is something that occurs less frequently.

Dehydration is the loss of water from both the body’s cells and blood vessels. Water is responsible for many of the things that require our bodies to function, such as our circulatory, respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological systems.

If taken too far, volume depletion can result in shock and collapse which, if not resuscitated in time, can be fatal.

Signs of dehydration

If you weigh 70kg, 40kg of that weight is water. So now that you have an indication of just how much water is stored in our bodies, let’s get into how you can decide whether you need an extra boost of hydration.

The symptoms of volume depletion are as follows: 

  • Thirst or a dry mouth
  • Dizziness or low blood pressure
  • If in the critical stages, confusion, due to lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Your skin doesn’t bounce back right away when pinched
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight loss

Those especially vulnerable to dehydration are elderly people as the amount of water our body stores reduces as we age. Combine that with other health problems such as chronic kidney disease, dehydration can pose a serious risk to those in a senior age bracket.

In order to remain healthy and hydrated, keep an eye out on your water levels, and if you experience any of the above symptoms, start drinking plenty more water and see your GP if necessary.

This article was written in partnership with Over60.