You naturally want your body to feel and look its best, so you take your vitamins, schedule your yearly checkups, and avoid eating Haagen-Dazs every night.
But the one thing you may be overlooking to keep your body in tip-top shape might be right under your nose — well, when you take a sip of it from your favorite glass.
Yes, we’re talking about water here — and for good reason.
If your body isn’t getting enough of the clear stuff every day, then you’re not getting what you need to replenish the water you lose during your body’s normal functions, leading to dehydration. What are the effects of dehydration? What body systems are affected by dehydration?
And this can ultimately lead to dehydration, which has many negative effects on the body.
So, how exactly does dehydration affect the body? Here’s a rundown on five key parts of the body that dehydration especially impacts.
1. Effects of Dehydration on the Body’s Muscles
Dehydration can have a drastic impact on your muscles, causing physical fatigue and discomfort. That’s because dehydration slows down your blood’s circulation, which can make your muscles contract and lead to various issues.
This effect can manifest whether you’ve been standing or seated for an extended period of time.
Signs that dehydration has affected your muscles range from sharp pains in one of your muscles to lumps on the muscle. Dehydration-related cramping can be quite uncomfortable but typically subsides on its own as your body rehydrates.
To mitigate the effects of dehydration on muscles, it's essential to stay hydrated by drinking about eight glasses of water a day. This should help reduce your likelihood of developing cramps and other muscle-related discomfort in the future.
2. Effects of Dehydration on the Body’s Brain
How else does dehydration affect the body? Even mild dehydration can impact your cognitive functions, which includes your motor coordination, cognitive performance, memory, and mood.
It can also impact your focus, energy, performance, and even the shape of your brain.
Keep in mind that you could feel these effects even if you’re feeling rested and healthy that day. Also, if you’re starting to feel these symptoms, this means your body’s organs, including the brain, have already begun to experience some impairment.
That said, the sooner you replenish your body’s lost water, the more energetic you’ll feel and the more lucid your thinking will become. So drink up!
3. Effects of Dehydration on the Body’s Skin
Dehydration can also cause you to develop dry skin. That’s because when you’re not hydrated enough, your skin will begin to feel and appear rough.
Even when you’re drinking a moderate amount of water each day, you may still suffer from dehydrated skin if you’re also drinking things that dehydrate you, such as alcohol and caffeine.
The effects of dehydration on skin can be exacerbated by external factors like dry and hot weather, which further contribute to skin dryness and discomfort. It's important to prioritize hydration and take care of your skin to maintain its health and appearance.
With skin dehydration, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Skin cracks
- Rough or tight texture
You might also notice your skin become duller if you’re dehydrated. Likewise, don’t be surprised if you develop sunken eyes or dark circles under your eyes. Increased wrinkling is yet another unfortunate consequence of dehydration.
The good news is, when you keep your body hydrated, your skin will stay feeling and looking its best.
4. Effects of Dehydration on the Body’s Heart
Because your heart is mostly made up of water, just as your brain is, dehydration can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. The fall in blood pressure is due to a drop in blood volume, courtesy of dehydration.
This means that your blood vessels can’t stretch as well.
Your body’s heart rate then rises to compensate for this and tries to pump a larger amount of blood. This significantly strains your body’s cardiovascular system.
Staying hydrated can help keep this from happening and prevent a possible cardiac event from happening as a result.
5. Effects of Dehydration on the Body’s Kidneys
Finally, dehydration can strain your kidneys, which removes waste from your blood to generate urine. How much can dehydration affect your body’s kidneys?
Well, a lot. Severe dehydration can lead to extreme damage to the kidneys, but even mild dehydration that occurs continuously can cause either permanently debilitating or temporarily painful kidney damage.
Dehydrated organs, especially the kidneys, can struggle to perform their essential functions efficiently, potentially leading to a range of health issues.
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