Just by breathing, sweating and urinating, the average person loses ten cups of water a day. With H2O making up as much as 75 per cent of our body, dehydration is a frequent risk. Water is integral in maintaining our systems and it performs limitless functions. Lubricating the skin, flushing out waste and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels stable are just a few of its vital roles.
Essentially, dehydration strikes when your body takes in less fluid than it loses. The mineral balance in your body becomes upset with salt and sugar levels going haywire. Enzymatic activity is slowed, toxins accumulate more easily and even breathing can become more difficult as the lungs are having to work harder.
Babies and the elderly are most susceptible as their bodies are not as resilient as other age groups. It has long been recommended to have eight glasses of water or two litres (0.5 gallons) a day. More recent research is undecided, as both slightly less and slightly more have been considered healthy.
Too much H2O? Hydration is all about finding the perfect balance. Too much hydration can be harmful as well as too little; this is known as water intoxication. If too much liquid is in your body, nutrients such as electrolytes and sodium are diluted and the body suffers as a result. Your cells bloat and expand and can even burst, and it can be fatal if untreated. The best treatment is to take on IV fluids containing electrolytes. Water intoxication is just one type of hyponatraemia, which also includes excessive sweating and liver and kidney problems.