The Importance of Hydration

Water is incredibly important to the human body. In fact, up to 60% of the human adult body is made up of water. The human brain is composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. Not only does our body use water in every cell, but it helps us also regulate temperature and is a part of many other functions of the body.

Most people should be drinking about 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day; however, you may need more or less depending on how your body regulates its water intake. Hydration is key to a healthy body to avoid dehydration, which is what happens when your body lacks sufficient water levels. Signs of mild dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, little urine, dark urine, dry skin, headaches, and muscle cramps. For example, if you have experienced a minor hangover the next morning, this is primarily due to dehydration, caused by alcohol’s dehydrating properties.

Severe dehydration can be dangerous, however. It can cause dizziness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, an inability to urinate, lethargy, and unconsciousness. Because water helps us regulate temperature, being dehydrated can also cause heat exhaustion or heatstroke, particularly in hot areas. If the body reaches temperatures of 104 degrees or higher, it can start to cause cellular damage.

Heat exhaustion can happen when people are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time without water, such as children who have been left in a vehicle on a hot day. Workplace exposure to heat without sufficient hydration can also cause heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is the severe version of this condition and requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, and can even lead to death.

Stay hydrated this summer, and make sure you and your family drink at least 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day, especially if you live in a hot area. If you require other medical treatment, don’t hesitate to call our physicians at the Whittier Hospital Medical Center. We have been helping residents of the southeast San Gabriel Valley for more than 60 years. Let us see how we can help you.

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This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.