Weighing In: Are You Dehydrated?

When we feel sick or just not ourselves, it’s hard not to jump to the worst conclusions. But stop WebMDing, because the answer to your health problems might be easier than you think. Water. Dehydration happens when the body loses more water than it’s taking in, and this can have a severe impact on your body and can cause a lot of health side effects. But how you do you know if you are dehydrated and why does it happen?

Sophomore Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major Katherine Ayala says, “Animals have these things called LCTs and UCTs which are lower critical temperatures and upper critical temperatures. Every animal has different ranges between these two which are the temperatures their body can stand before it has to adapt in short term (ex. If it’s too hot they will sweat, pant, need to drink more water) and long term (shed their hair, increase the surface area on their body) so when the temperature is higher than their UCT their body will start changing and same with people. When we are in temperatures higher than we can handle, our bodies start changing and one of the changes is an increased need for water and if we don’t get it we will become dehydrated.”

When we have this increased need for water our bodies start calling out to us to alert us that it needs something. So if you are feeling off, dehydration may be your problem.

Have you checked your pee?

If you think you may be dehydrated check your pee after going to the bathroom. You want your pee to be a lighter shade of yellow, but if the color starts to darken, make sure to start drinking more fluids. Also, if you find yourself going really little or you are not going at all during the day that is another sign of dehydration.

“You can crudely asses urine to determine hydration by observing the color. A dark color informs you that you are dehydrated and diluted urine informs you are getting enough water and your excreting the excess water. The closer the urine color is to clean the better!” says junior kinesiology major Kaitlin Mullen.

Is your mouth dry and are you always thirsty?

If you are at the point where seeing someone else drink water or thinking about waterfalls makes your mouth dry up like a desert, you are dehydrated. If you are thirsty make sure you get a drink in your hand. Being thirsty is your body telling you that it needs something. Don’t ignore your body’s signs. Give it what it wants!

Are you always exhausted?

If you are feeling a loss of strength and getting out of bed is a struggle because of how exhausted you are you may be suffering from dehydration. This is especially prevalent in the summer and in hot conditions. We all remember our mom’s screaming at us to drink water when it was hot out when we were little and that is because dehydration leads to heat exhaustion. While you are in hot classrooms, doing an intense gym session or hot yoga session or if you are out on a hot summer day, make sure you always have a water bottle in hand.

“I remember one time I went to a music festival and it was really hot out but water cost $7 a bottle and you couldn’t bring your own water in and people were passing out from heat exhaustion,” says junior theater major Daniele White.

Do you have multiple headaches and dizziness throughout the day?

Headaches are a big symptom of dehydration. Here’s something to scare you into buying a water bottle. The reason you get headaches when you are dehydrated is because it causes your brain tissue to lose water and then your brain shrinks and pulls away from your skull, causing the pain and dizziness.

“When I was a little girl, I was outside at a craft show during the summer and out of no where started to get really light headed and was getting massive headaches. I had to drink a lot of water so I wouldn’t pass out,” says sophomore marketing major Deanna Sagedy.

Being dehydrated may not seem like a big deal, but many people are hospitalized for it. Water is the most important thing your body needs to stay alive. Above are common side effects of slight dehydration and are warning signs from your body telling you that it needs something. Fortunately, those side effects can be reversed by drinking more fluids so do not ignore the signs if you feel this might be your problem. If you feel that your side effects are worsening or start to experience symptoms such as rapid heart rate, fever, cramping and vomiting consult with a doctor.


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