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Dehydration: Avoiding, and the Possible Effects of It Essay

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Updated: May 24th, 2022

Introduction

It is the universally accepted truth that correct nutrition, diets, enough exercise and the quite active ways of life are the factors that predetermine the healthy living of a person. Different scholars express various opinions on the issue of what products, minerals, vitamins, etc. are the most useful for human beings in certain climatic, geographical, health and activity conditions (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005).

Nevertheless, all the scholars dealing with human health agree on the statement that water is the most important, or even vital, element of nature that makes the very existence of human beings possible and creates the necessary balance of microelements and minerals inside of the human organism. Dehydration, on the other hand, is the state of water deficiency, i. e. the state when the human organism does not receive enough water to ensure the proper interchange of microelements and minerals and function healthy. Dehydration, the ways to avoid it, and the possible effects of it are the topic of this paper.

Water and Health

To start with, however, it is necessary to consider the role that water plays for the human health. To put it simply, water is responsible for not only keeping a person healthy but for keeping the person alive as well. Given the data that an average human being consists of water for 50% to 75%, it is obvious that without water the very functioning of the human organism would be impossible (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005). Moreover, water is essential for human life as far as it provides for a balance of the microelements and minerals in the human body. In other words, it is water that helps make some minerals less concentrated in a body; at the same time, it can bring the lacking minerals to the region of the organism where their concentration is weak.

Functions of Water

Needless to say, the functions of water in the human body are numerous. First of all, water is the element of body construction that facilitates the very process of living and proper functioning of the human being.

Secondly, as far as the human organism consists of cells, water is the major building material for them. There are intracellular and extracellular fluids that deal with building cells and ensuring their proper interaction in the human organism; as well there is a notion of the interstitial fluid, which consists of the water from the blood and extracellular fluid (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005). The functions of all these types of water in human organisms are focused on the process of osmosis, whose essence lies in the water passive movement across a membrane of every single cell in order to equalize the concentration of minerals in and out of cells. Finally, water serves as the body temperature regulator and a participant of chemical reactions in the organism.

Issues from Lack of Water

Further on, when an organism feels the need for water, the first signal to this is thirst. A human being feels thirst through the symptoms of dry mouth and weakness. The water needed is usually proportionate to the water lost, but the signals from the brain might be too late to manifest thirst and the amount a person drinks might be smaller than needed. In this case, if the water supply for the organism is absent at all, the state of dehydration comes (Healthy Body, 2009).

It is interesting that according to scholars a human being lives for about 8 weeks without food, but without water, this period is reduced to several days (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005). Dehydration changes the volume of blood in an organism, reduces the ability of blood to deliver oxygen to the cells and eliminates the processed products out of them. Thus, dehydration results in fatigue, dry eyes and mouth, nausea, disorientation and finally lead to the inability of physical activity and thinking.

Functions of Electrolytes

One more important function of water is the supply of the organism with the electrically charged ions that are responsible for several vital activities of human beings. These ions are called electrolytes, while sodium, potassium, and chloride are the most important of them. The main functions these ions carry out include transmitting nerve impulses from the brain to the muscles and organs, balancing body fluids, the water content in the organism, etc.

Thus, sodium and potassium are both positively charged ions that transmit brain signals to muscles making the human being able of moving and muscle contraction. Further on, the combination of sodium and chloride controls the balance of fluids in the organism (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005). For instance, if a person gains weight after eating something salty, it is chloride that makes a person drink more water which transforms to muscles until the next day when minerals are able to digest salt and take the person back to his/her normal weight.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Needless to say, the reasons that cause dehydration or develop it might be found not only inside of human bodies. Outside factors, such as alcohol and caffeine consumption are also rather negative for the water balance in the human body. For instance, alcohol or caffeine consumed in excessive amounts undermine the work of kidneys and reduces their ability to reabsorb the water thus making the water balance in the organism lower than needed. Blood pressure is also increased by alcohol or caffeine consumption which leads to the increase of sweating and uncontrollable water losses as well (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005). Finally, alcohol or caffeine decreases the bone mass of a person and given the same weight with less bone mass a person will inevitably lose water taking more effort to act.

Conclusions. Steps to Avoid Dehydration

To conclude, water is vital for the human organism. Dehydration, on the other hand, is the state of water deficiency, i. e. the state when the human organism does not receive enough water to ensure the proper interchange of microelements and minerals and function healthy. The reasons for dehydration might include lack of water for consumption, the deviations found in the chemical reactions that take place in the body, as well as excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption (Healthy Body, 2009). The effects of dehydration range from slight fatigues to lethal cases depending on the water balance in the organisms of different people (Grosvenor and Smolin, 2005).

Naturally, the most effective step to prevent dehydration is to renew the water balance in the organism every certain period of time, especially while exercising or feeling the first symptoms of dehydration. As well, if possible, one should avoid serious physical loads in hot weather when water losses are especially substantial (Healthy Body, 2009). These simple steps combined with a healthy lifestyle free of alcohol and caffeine can facilitate the normal water balance in the human organism and provide for successful and positive living.

References

Grosvenor, M. B. & Smolin, L. A. (2005). Nutrition: Everyday Choices. Wiley.

Healthy Body. (2009). Effects of Dehydration. Web.

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