We, as a population, are over-consumed by our own day-to-day lives. We’re all guilty of it. Whether we’re buried with office work or have our heads drowning in technology, we often ignore doing the essentials like nourishing our bodies with food and water. When it comes to dehydration, by the time we even notice we’re thirsty, it’s already too late. Instances like right before bed occur when we feel the sudden urge to drink a big glass (or two) of water. Others will feel unexpected moments of thirst throughout the day. Reasons for dehydration could be a dry climate or even a health concern, and these signal that our body is trying to communicate with us. In this article, we'll dig deeper into the potential causes of and solutions to our sudden thirst.
What Does it Mean to be Dehydrated?
Dehydration is caused by the loss of too much fluid from the body. The body has a certain amount of fluids, and if not enough fluids are replaced as the body expels them, dehydration can occur. The same goes for electrolytes. We need a certain amount of electrolytes for our body to function properly, but like fluids, electrolytes are expelled through urine, sweat, and breath. Therefore, electrolytes also need to be replaced as they leave the body. An osmolality test can be performed to check the fluid levels and electrolyte balance. Osmolality levels increase when one is dehydrated and decrease when there is excess fluid in the blood. When there’s an increase, the body will send signals to the kidneys to make an antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Dry Mouth
- Dark Urine
Many believe that being dehydrated is about feeling thirst arise and that it’s not a big deal if they don’t rehydrate right away. One of the most common symptoms of dehydration is thirst, so once we hit that point, we are already dehydrated and should replace lost fluids right away. Not replacing lost fluids can result in serious complications such as low blood pressure, stroke, seizures, and even kidney disease. Unfortunately, circumstances out of our control, like no access to water or fighting an illness, can make rehydration much harder to do.
Who Experiences Sudden Thirst?
Sudden thirst can happen for many reasons. More common occurrences are physical activity, diabetes, anemia, and taking certain medications. Physical activity is a daily routine for many and we expel fluids and electrolytes when we sweat. For an individual with diabetes, sugars are unable to process through the body properly. This can force the kidneys to work overtime to get rid of all of the excess sugar in the body through urine. Water can even be pulled from the tissues to produce more urine, making us desperately thirsty. For those with anemia, healthy red blood cells are difficult for the body to produce, which then causes the body to struggle to make enough oxygen. The body loses red blood cells faster than replacing them and causes weakness, fatigue, and thirst. Dry mouth occurs when the glands in our mouths don’t make enough saliva. This is extremely common for those who smoke, take certain medications, or have side effects from the radiation for cancer.
Some of the less common occurrences of sudden thirst are hyperglycemia, thyroid, and pregnancy. Hyperglycemia is typically associated with diabetes because it occurs when too much sugar is in the blood and the body cannot create enough insulin. This can cause vision problems, vomiting, and thirst. Each thyroid case varies from person to person and can have different severity levels. However, all thyroid cases have similar symptoms, including dehydration and lack of saliva. For expecting mothers, thirst and excessive urination are typical occurrences. In some cases, pregnant women will experience gestational diabetes, affecting only 6-9% of women during pregnancy.
So what is the best solution to all of these situations? Drink some water! It's amazing how different our bodies can feel when we increase our water intake by only 1-2 glasses each day. It's important to remind ourselves that we only get one body. We need to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability. Dehydration is a severe condition, unfortunately, often ignored. If we took hydration more seriously, it would improve the health of millions.
Author : Jennifer Dutton, Blog Writer, DrinkLyte Co. "Helping Grow CPG Brands Beyond Their Potential"