Dehydration in the World – The Invisible Illness Destroying Us
The majority of adults do not hydrate themselves close to the recommended level. In the USA 75% of adults suffer chronic dehydration, drinking only 2.5 cups a day on average. This problem is also experienced in slightly varying degrees in other countries such as France, Australia and Germany.
The inevitable effect of this is that most of us are missing out on many benefits that can be gained from keeping our bodies hydrated.
Keeping high body water content can help you better regulate your body temperature and keep yourself cool so that you don’t overheat. Dehydration in hot temperatures can cause heat exhaustion which may result in headaches, nausea and heatstroke. Drinking the right levels of water can even help reduce obesity. A study carried out at Michigan Medical School, USA, has shown that there may be a correlation between being dehydrated and having higher body mass index (BMI) levels. This becomes less surprising when you consider that drinking water has been proven to reduce hunger and temporarily improve your metabolism by 24-30%.
If you’re only mildly dehydrated you’re 114% more likely to make an error, which is similar to drinking low levels of alcohol.
Possibly the most surprising study on how dehydration can negatively affect adults is the research carried out in the UK by Loughborough University. The results proved that if you’re only mildly dehydrated you are as prone to errors while driving as if you’d drunk low levels of alcohol. In fact, you’re 114% more likely to make an error if you’re dehydrated.
Despite the negative health and cognitive effects of dehydration most adults go through their daily lives in this state. It seems illogical that this happens when staying hydrated, for most of those living in developed countries, is so simple.
Dehydration and the Elderly
As we become older it seems that hydration becomes even more of a challenge. In fact, in The USA dehydration is in the top 10 reasons for hospitalization for those at an old age1. It’s not a surprise this occurs when you consider the following statement from the British Nutrition Foundation “Older people are vulnerable to dehydration due to physiological changes in the ageing process”. Unfortunately, there are a broad range of reasons why we are at a higher risk of dehydration as we get older.
Older people are vulnerable to dehydration due to physiological changes in the ageing process. In many cases dehydration can cause a reduction in cognitive ability, acute confusion and various other health problems. The biggest concern however, is that in some cases the side effects are far more serious. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging in 2015 actually proved that a senior patient’s mortality rate increased depending on their level of dehydration.
Dehydration and Youngsters
Keeping children hydrated can have many health and educational benefits. A study in 2012, carried out by The Natural Hydration Council, a leading expert in hydration, showed that hydrated children can outperform dehydrated children in exam conditions, due to improved visual attention and fine motor skills. In terms of physical health, if your child is enrolled in a sport, their risk for dehydration is much greater and increasingly important as it can lead to a decrease in performance by as much as 5%.
It’s plain to see, and easy to understand. Drink more water if you’re not already! When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.