The human body works upon many different body functions and metabolisms working every second constantly to maintain normal homeostasis and balance. One of these key functions is hydration.
Fluid and electrolyte balance in our body is by far one of the most crucial aspects in keeping us active and energized the whole day.
When your body is dehydrated, it loses many important electrolytes and mainly a substantial amount of fluid.
To restore the lost water and electrolytes into the cells and tissues is what is termed rehydration.
Now what amount you need to get back in and how long will it take to rehydrate depends all upon the severity of your dehydration which we will further explore.
What is Dehydration And Its Symptoms?
Dehydration occurs when your body does not receive or gain the optimum amount of fluids (water) it needs.
As a result, the body fails to carry out the normal daily functions and activities and can even lead to many other health complications.
Technically, many major activities done by an individual leads to a good amount of fluid loss throughout the day like urinating, sweating, or working out, etc. Thus, the need to restore water and electrolytes in your body is a must.
What can happen if you are dehydrated? Here are the possible symptoms-
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms-
- Dry and pale skin
- Dry mouth
- Constant fatigue
- Bloating or acidity
- Dehydration headaches
- Hazy vision
Severe dehydration symptoms-
- Low blood pressure
- Less sweating
- Decreased urination
- Dark urine
- Fast breathing
Mild to moderate dehydration can be treated and stabled through natural ways and consuming the optimum amount of liquids within the right time. But if you are severely dehydrated, you might need a medical emergency as your last resort.
Side Effects of Dehydration
Dehydration, as already discussed, if not treated on time and turns severe, can cause serious health issues and thus you need to rush for a medical emergency. That is why it is always proposed to keep an optimum fluid intake regularly.
In cases of severe dehydration, these are some of the serious side effects you can experience-
1) Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure is when the values drop as low as 90/60 mmHg. Low blood pressure is caused when the blood volume goes low, which directly points to dehydration as one of the major causes.
When you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops, which causes your blood pressure to drop.
Your organs will not receive the oxygen and nutrients they require if your blood pressure goes too low. You may fall into shock.
2) Heat exhaustion
Sweating or radiating heat from the skin raises the internal temperature of the body to a large extent. In situations like extreme heat, humidity, etc. the condition worsens even more. The body, thus, works on a cooling system to reduce the internal heat.
This is balanced by optimum hydration i.e, intake of water, other fluids, and electrolyte foods. However, when our system fails to acquire this hydration point and cannot sweat enough to cool internally, the body temperature rises to dangerously high levels leaving the person in a heat shock or heat exhaustion.
Heat strokes can be fatal for the body and can even cause death if timely action is not taken. Thus, make sure to let your internal temperature be balanced through proper hydration.
Electrolyte abnormalities are one of the major outcomes associated with dehydration and can cause frequent seizures.
Electrolyte imbalance impacts the brain as well as many other organs and tissues, and they must be diagnosed as soon as possible since they can lead to serious and life-threatening problems if left untreated.
When the body is devoid of major important electrolytes, the nerve functioning affects the most which disrupts the normal activity and working of the brain leading to symptoms like headache, confusion, dizziness, reduced mental alertness, reduced concentration, and focus, etc.
To prevent this condition, it is highly advised to look out for your diet. You must include foods rich in electrolytes, healthy electrolyte drinks, etc.
How Long Does it Take to Rehydrate?
According to experts, a standard and optimum daily intake of water in men and women can be valued as-
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men/ day
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids for women/ day
Again, this is a standard amount suggested. Depending upon your body needs, this can vary.
Without food, you can survive for a good few weeks but without water, you cannot take it for more than 3-4 days, and thus the priority should be hydration.
In the case of dehydration, how long it takes to rehydrate depends on many factors, one of the major being how much water you have lost.
Truth to be told, there is no need to panic if you ever find yourself in a state of mild to moderate dehydration. It will just take a few minutes for your body to be properly rehydrated.
If you are severely dehydrated and all the other fluid and food sources do not help you get back on track, that’s when you need a medical emergency or simply speaking, an IV hydration (Intravenous hydration).
Generally, a severely dehydrated person is kept on IV for around 24 hours until he or she is rehydrated enough or can consume a fair amount of oral rehydration fluids himself/herself.
Note: Overhydration is also equally harmful to your body. If you consume too much water at once to quench your thirst or overcome dehydration, your body can go into a shock.
How To Rehydrate Fast?
If you are suffering from dehydration and wish to rehydrate yourself fast ( remember fast does not mean to over-hydrate yourself), here are some quick tips for you-
- There is no better substitute for water. With around 60-70% of your body makeup as water, it is suggested to at least consume 8-10 glasses of water per day to keep your body working actively.
- Consume more hydrating foods in your diet. Choose water-rich foods, detox drinks, milk, electrolyte drinks, soups, etc. to cleanse and rehydrate. Also, if you do not wish to consume plain water, you can choose other types of water infused with elevated hydrating properties and flavors.
- One of the instant hydration techniques involves drip or IV hydration which we have already discussed. Intravenous ways of replenishing the lost fluid and electrolyte stores are very quick and effective.
- You can also choose to stay on a liquid diet for a limited period of time to compensate for your lost body fluids. But, a prolonged liquid diet can lead to weakness so plan wisely.
Hydration is the key to a happy and healthy life. Losing water from the body is evident. That’s a part of your daily routine. But how you rehydrate yourself back is the jack of all trades here.
Optimum hydration and rehydration in conjugation can eliminate the chances of dehydration promising sound overall health.