The surprising effects dehydration can have on your body

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According to Medical Daily, a staggering 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.

But what is dehydration, exactly? Is it simply what you experience when you're feeling a little tired, hot, and thirsty?

It turns out that there are so many serious factors than can contribute to water loss in the body and bring on dehydration.

In an exclusive look below, we'll go through some of the most crucial (and perhaps unexpected) signs of dehydration, then explore some important causes and reasons for water and fluid loss.

From constipation and tummy troubles to common medications and untreated illnesses, the causes of dehydration should be carefully taken into consideration.

When left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious problems, including intense fatigue, an impaired metabolism, mood swings, and organ malfunction.

Scroll further to read more about dehydration causes, effects, and symptoms. Please let us know your thoughts and concerns down in the comments below!

What Is Dehydration?

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Sixty percent of the average adult body is made up of water. Fifty to 75 percent of all human bodies is composed of water, with kids and infants having a slightly higher amount.

Water powers most of our bodies' basic functions. From forming cells, organs, and tissues to regulating body temperatures, it is one of the most important — if not the most crucial — resources that fuels our bodies.

Our bodies lose water when we breathe, digest food, and sweat. When we fail to replenish our systems with fresh water, dehydration can occur.

In the worst situations, it can cause seizures, mood swings, blood clots, and other fatal issues, according to Everyday Health.

Below, we go through some of the most notable symptoms and causes of dehydration, so that you can better monitor your health.

Signs And Symptoms
Symptom #1: Bad Breath

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Dr. John Higgins, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas in Houston, says that dehydration can seriously lower saliva production in your body.

This is bad, because saliva has good antibacterial properties.

"If you're not producing enough saliva in the mouth, you can get bacteria overgrowth and one of the side reactions of that is bad breath from chronic dehydration," he said.

Symptom #2: Dry Skin And A Dry, Sticky Mouth

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You don't have to be sweaty to be dehydrated.

Many people experience the drying of their skin, mouth, and lips when they are dehydrated.

Dr. Higgins explains that you can go through many stages of dehydration: in the "dry stage," not enough blood is surfacing to the skin, and therefore causes it to be dry.

Symptom #3: Constipation

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According to WebMD, water moves the food along through the intestines, and keeps your intestines and gut in tip-top shape.

When your body doesn't have enough water, your large intestine will soak up whatever water there is from the food in your system.

The lack of water will make it extra difficult to pass stools, and will lead to serious constipation.

Symptom #4: Muscle Cramps

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While muscle cramping isn't usually a direct result of dehydration, it is linked to the side effects of dehydration from heat.

Muscles work very hard during exercise. As Dr. Higgins explains, the harder they work, the likelier they will overheat, and the more intensely they will seize up in pain.

The more fluids and water your body has in stock, the better it can stabilize itself in dangerous heat.

Symptom #5: Sugar Cravings

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According to Everyday Health, your body will experience difficulty with glycogen production when it is dehydrated.

Made by the cells in the liver, glycogen is a form of glucose that our bodies use to store energy.

Without enough water, glycogen can't be formed, and, as a result, you will actually experience intense cravings for food — especially for food with a high sugar content — when you're dehydrated.

Causes Of Dehydration
Cause #1: Excessive Sweating

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The most obvious cause of dehydration is loss of water through sweating.

When you engage in vigorous activity or exercise in extreme heat, you are likelier to sweat more than average, according to MedlinePlus.

And if you forget to replace water and fluids throughout the day, the more intensely you'll be dehydrated.

Cause #2: Frequent Urination

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Frequent urination can be caused by various things, including undiagnosed or uncontrolled medical conditions, like diabetes, and specific medications, including blood pressure treatment.

According to the Mayo Clinic, uncontrolled urination can lead to a significant amount of water loss, and cause the body to be dehydrated.

Cause #3: Diarrhea And Vomiting

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Severe diarrhea and sudden, violent cases of vomiting can also cause a great loss of water and minerals, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Kids and infants are particularly susceptible to dehydration through diarrhea and vomiting.

Make sure to check whether your diarrhea is linked to certain foods, a bacterial infection, a bowel issue, or a reaction to medication.

Cause #4: Alcohol

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According to Livestrong, alcohol makes it difficult for the body to reabsorb water.

It blocks the body's antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which helps the kidneys reabsorb water. Without it, the body will urinate more frequently, and experience dehydration.

In some cases, drinks like coffee, tea, and even prescription meds will have the same effects.

Cause #5: High Altitudes

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High altitudes (generally at a height above 8,200 feet) can also cause dehydration, among a whole slew of health conditions, according to the Mayo Clinic.

When you're high above the ground, your body will try hard to readjust to the high elevations, by urinating more frequently and breathing more quickly.

The more rapidly you breathe, the more water vapor you exhale, causing a great amount of water and fluid loss.

Cause #6: Chronic Illnesses

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As mentioned earlier, uncontrolled or untreated diabetes can lead to frequent urination and greater water loss.

According to the Mayo Clinic, other illnesses like cardiovascular and kidney diseases have also been linked to dehydration.

Always make sure to visit your doctor if you are feeling unwell, so that you can understand the underlying causes of your discomfort, and be treated correctly.

Please SHARE these crucial warning signs of dehydration with friends and family!

Here's more insight into why dehydration actually occurs:
Why Dehydration Occurs
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