CareNow® - July 17, 2017

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

We’ve all heard the rule: you should drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water each day. While it’s not incorrect, how much water you need daily depends on a number of factors such as how healthy you are, how active you are and where you live. On top of that, you can actually drink too much water! Because of this, it’s important to know about how much water your body needs every day.

 

Know Your Numbers

We lose water every day simply by breathing, perspiring, urinating and making bowel movements. In order for your body to properly function, it’s essential that beverages and foods that contain water replenish it. For a healthy adult who lives in a moderate climate, the rule is about 13 cups of total beverages for the day. For women, the rule is 9 cups each day.

 

What Water Does

Because every system in your body relies on it, your body weight is made up about 60% water. One of the biggest benefits of water is that it flushes toxins out of vital organs, transports nutrients to your cells and keeps your ears, nose and throat moist. If you don’t provide your body with enough water, you will suffer from dehydration, which can drain you of energy and cause serious fatigue. In severe cases, dehydration can even be fatal.

If you believe you're suffering from dehydration an it's an emergency, call 911 or go to your closest ER.

 

What Happens During Dehydration

There are a number of ways our bodies lose water: breathing, urinating, sweating, etc. Typically we will replenish our body's water level by eating and drinking whenever we get thirsty or hungry. However, those who exert themselves physically on the regular as well as infants, the elderly and the sick are more at risk of getting dehydrated.

It's important to know that your body is already dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty. The mechanism of thirst actually lags behind the actual level of dehydration.

Studies show that our bodies react to as little as 1 percent dehydration. This may affect mood, attention, memory and motor coordination. As you continue losing body water, your blood becomes more concentrated. This will force your kidneys to begin retaining water, which results in less urination.

As your blood continues to thicken, it becomes harder for your cardiovascular system to compensate and your heart rate will begin to increase. If you push yourself too much physically, you could faint. A lack of water also messes with the temperature of your body, which could lead to hyperthermia–when the body's temperature is significantly above normal.

Other Sources of Water

Many people think water only comes in one form, but that’s not true. You can consume water from fruits and vegetables, milk, juice and even caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soda. Since water has no calories, it’s usually the best option, but know you can get hydrated other ways as well.

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Disclaimer: Patients' health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you