What percentage of the population is dehydrated?

Despite the universal acceptance on the importance of hydration, people across our planet, at all ages, live their lives at constant levels of dehydration.

Why the world is dehydrated?

THE AVERAGE Person in the UK only drinks 1.7 litres per day which is well below the 2.5 (for males) and 2.0 (for females) that is recommended by most leading health organisations.

Water consumed per day per country

One of the biggest reasons behind this underconsumption is that the human body can become dehydrated more quickly than most people think. It takes only a 2% loss of total water content for your body to start feeling thirsty. In a workplace consumption survey conducted by Waterlogic, it was reported that 28% of full-time workers only drink when they are thirsty, even though 72% of respondents stated that it was important for them to stay hydrated at work.

Once you’re at this point your body is already in a state of dehydration, increasing the likelihood of experiencing a variety of symptoms that have been scientifically linked to how hydrated you are, such as:

Health issues of dehydration

It takes only a 2% loss of total water content for your body to start feeling thirsty. Once you’re at this point your body is already in a state of dehydration.

Symptoms related to dehydration are broad and can vary significantly based on what stage you are in your life. All these issues are easily solved by doing one simple thing, drinking more water. In fact, the British Nutrition Foundation clearly states that regular H2O is the best thing to drink to keep yourself hydrated whether you’re young, middle aged or elderly. It’s worth emphasizing this fact, as although all liquids will hydrate the human body, some do a much better job than others. Water and fruit juices, for instance, hydrate more effectively than milk and soda drinks.

hydration and health fact 4

With such a simple solution it makes it surprising to know that dehydration amongst children is a commonly worrying occurrence.

What is dehydration?

Water is a critical element of the body, and keeping the body adequately hydrated is a must to allow the body to function. Up to 60% of the body’s weight is made up of water. Most of the water is found within the cells of the body (intracellular space). The rest is found in the extracellular space, which consists of the blood vessels (intravascular space) and the spaces between cells (interstitial space).

Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. The body is very dynamic and always changing. This is especially true with water in the body. We lose water routinely when we:

  • breathe and humidified air leaves the body (this can be seen on a cold day when you can see your breath in the air, which is just water that has been exhaled);
  • sweat to cool the body; and
  • eliminate waste by urinating or having a bowel movement.

On a normal day, a person has to drink a significant amount of water to replace this routine loss.

The formula for daily fluid requirements depends upon an individual’s weight. Normally, fluid and weight are calculated using the metric system; however, below is the approximation in imperial (American) units.

If you would like to calculate your body weight and daily fluid requirements using the metric system, please use this formula.

For the first 10kg (kilogram) of body weight, the daily fluid intake required is 100cc (or mL) per kg.
For the next 10kg of body weight, the fluid required is an additional 50 cc/kg.
For every additional kg of body weight, an additional 10cc/kg is required.

Early Symptoms of Dehydration

Symptoms and signs of dehydration can be minor, such as increased thirst, or severe and life-threatening, depending on the extent of the dehydration.

The early symptoms of dehydration are

  • thirst, and
  • reduced urine output, and darkening of the urine.

As dehydration progresses, other symptoms develop, including

  • dry mouth,
  • lightheadedness,
  • muscle cramps, and
  • palpitations.

What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?

Dry mouth.
Eyes stop making tears.
Sweating may stop.
Muscle cramps.
Nausea and vomiting.
Heart palpitations.
Lightheadedness (especially when standing)

Dehydration Facts That May Surprise You

Dehydration Causes Fatigue.

A pair of recent studies found that young people who were mildly dehydrated were much more likely to feel fatigued during moderate exercise and even when sedentary. Unsurprisingly, fatigue is a common dehydration symptom, and it’s said to be the No. 1 cause of midday fatigue.

Thirst Means You’re Dehydrated.

Dehydration triggers the body’s thirst response. So when you feel thirsty, dehydration is already setting in. In many experiments, just 1 to 2 percent dehydration has been shown to trigger thirst. This level of dehydration can happen quickly, especially following intense exercise or when battling viruses.

Dehydration Causes Foggy Memory, Irritability, and More.

Dehydration, even mild dehydration, has been shown to put stress on our cognitive functioning. In younger adults, for instance, dehydration was linked to a dip in concentration and short-term memory, as well as an increase in feelings of anxiety and irritability. With children, studies are more conclusive than hydration can improve attention and memory.

Hydration Can Boost Your Metabolism.

Although the evidence is limited, your metabolism could benefit from drinking cold water. In fact, one study found that drinking cold water helped boost healthy men’s and women’s metabolic rate by 30 percent. [vi] The researchers concluded that the body expended more energy heating the cold water, which resulted in a boost in metabolism.

Dehydration Is One of the Most Common Risk Factors for Kidney Stones.

A landmark 1990 study examined the causes of kidney stones in more than 700 patients. Chronic dehydration, caused by a variety of factors, was believed to be a factor in about 20 percent of cases. More recently, researchers have examined the link more in-depth. In one five-year randomized trial, patients with kidney stones were told to drink more water, which resulted in a drop in kidney stone recurrence.

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