Am I Drinking Enough Water?

January 11, 2018
Am I Drinking Enough Water

Water is essential for our survival and helps our bodies function at optimal levels. But how much water do you really need? Despite an abundance of opinions, there's no one-size-fits-all suggestion for everyone. To make sure you stay hydrated, consider the following:

Why We Need Water

The body's principal chemical component, water, regulates our body temperature while helping to eliminate waste through perspiration, urination, and bowel movements. It also cushions and lubricates joints while protecting sensitive tissues. If we don't get enough water, we become dehydrated to the point where our organs begin to fail. As such, it's important to get an adequate amount of water every day.

Being well hydrated offers numerous benefits for overall health and well-being. Adequate hydration is essential for:

  • Optimal physical performance 
  • Better concentration
  • Improved memory
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Digestive health
  • Kidney function
  • Skin health

Signs of Dehydration

It’s important that you’re aware of the common signs of dehydration, so you’re always prepared to assist yourself or someone else. A few symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth or skin
  • Decreased urine output or dark yellow urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If you think you’re dehydrated, it’s crucial that you take prompt action to rehydrate yourself. You can do this by:

  • Moving to a shaded area so that you’re out of the sun’s direct line of sight – This will help to prevent further fluid loss due to excessive sweating.
  • Drinking fluids such as water and beverages with electrolytes (e.g., sports drinks and oral rehydration solutions) to help rehydrate your body – It’s important that you avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks, as these can further contribute to dehydration.
  • Monitoring your urine output – You’ll want to pay close attention to the color and volume of your urine. The lighter your urine and the more frequently you’re urinating, the more hydrated you are.
  • Resting for as long as possible – It is imperative that you give your body the time it needs to recover.

If you begin to feel worse or find that you’re unable to keep liquids down , it’s important to seek medical attention. Severe dehydration can be a medical emergency and may require intravenous (IV) fluids for proper rehydration.

How Much Water Is Enough Water?

You may have heard that you should drink eight glasses of water every day. In reality, people need different amounts of water based on their individual age, health, size, and level of activity. If a person lives in a warm climate, he or she will also need more water. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine the exact amount of water an individual needs.

According to the Institute of Medicine, most healthy men ages 19+ should consume 3.7 liters (about 15.5 cups) of water per day, while women should intake 2.7 liters (about 11.5 cups). It's important to remember, however, that these recommendations cover fluids from beverages and foods, such as soups and fruits. For men, 3 liters should be consumed as beverages. For women, 2.2 liters should be consumed as beverages.

How Much Should You Drink?

Most healthy people can meet their hydration needs by drinking water when they feel thirsty. That said, if you exercise frequently or work in a hot environment, you should watch closely for signs of dehydration. Here are a few tips for how to stay hydrated throughout the day:

  • Make it a habit to drink consistently throughout the day.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle so you can take sips regularly.
  • Set daily water intake goals so you can strive for a certain target.
  • Eat water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Be mindful of drinking too many caffeinated or sugary beverages, as they can dehydrate you.

It's also important to know that drinking too much water can lead to serious health issues by diluting the amount of sodium in your body. For this reason, it's not a good idea to force yourself to drink large amounts of water as part of a diet or detoxifying regimen. 

If you think you might be dehydrated, but you’re not experiencing emergency symptoms, turn to PhysicianOne Urgent Care. We treat non-life-threatening cases of dehydration at our centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, and we proudly offer walk-in availability, online booking, and 24/7 integrated telehealth.

This was the fastest, easiest, and best doctor's visit. The provider was extremely kind and helpful. I explained my symptoms, the provider asked a few followup questions, and then she issued a script. I will absolutely be using this service again and would recommend to anyone.
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