Water is an essential compound for our survival. Over 60 percent of our body mass consists of water. Water is present in all of our cells, tissues, and organs. Water in our body also has various roles in keeping our body functioning normally, such as:
- Normalizing Blood Pressure
- Regulating Body Temperature
- Maintaining Electrolyte Balance
- Protecting Organs and Tissues
- Aiding in Digestion Process
- Cushioning Joints and Spinal Cords
- Carrying Nutrients and Oxygens to Cells
The problem with water is that it doesn’t stay in our bodies permanently. The water level in our body is constantly being reduced due to sweat, urine, digestion, and other body functions. We need to replenish the water level regularly, so our body functions don’t get disturbed.
Now the question arises, how much water should I consume every day?
The simple answer is it varies. The human body is not the same for everyone. Every person is different, and everyone has their limit of water that they should consume. Mainly, the water consumption depends upon the age, gender, weight, medical condition, and even the environmental conditions. Let’s take a look at the factors affecting the water intake level.
Factors That Influence The Consumption of Water
Daily Activity and Exercise
People who are more physically active and undergoing exercise regularly lose water faster than the average person. They need to drink more water to cover up the loss. It’s also important that they should replenish the amount of electrolyte as rigorous
exercise reduces the level of it in our body. Eating citrus fruits, dense fruits, and vegetables quickly restore the water level with electrolytes in our body. Sports drinks are also favored for restoring body fluids with electrolytes.
Depending upon the environmental weather, the water consumption level varies. People living in hot tropical conditions lose more water through sweat. It is vital for those who living in tropical or summer conditions to drink more water. For people living in cold humid conditions, they lose water more through urine. Even though they don’t feel parched, people living in cold conditions should also drink enough water to replenish body fluids.
Your health condition also plays a role in the amount of water you should consume. Conditions such as fever, vomiting, and diarrhea reduce the fluid level in your body rapidly. You should drink more water than average or follow your doctor’s recommendation in replenishing your body fluid. People with certain kidney disease should consume less water, and people who had a kidney transplant or living with one kidney should drink more water than average. Other conditions such as urinary tract infection, kidney stones, bladder infection affect the liquid level in the human body. Anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDS cause fluid retention in the body. Therefore, people taking these medicines should reduce water consumption. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice about the amount of water consumption when diagnosed with such conditions.
Age and Gender
This is the main factor that affects water consumption. Men on average require more water than women because of their higher fat-free mass and energy expenditure. For infants and children, the amount of water they should intake is proportional to their body weight. It is because their surface area of skin relative to their weight is high leading to higher water loss from the skin.
How Much Should You Drink On Average?
It is established that the water consumption level in our body is affected by various factors like climate, health condition, and physical activity. But the water level in our body reduces even without these factors. Normal body functions such as breathing, bowel movements, sweat, and urinating reduce the water level in our body. Therefore, it is important for a normal person to drink a certain amount of water each day.
The advice “8 glasses of water each day” is a healthy amount of water for an average person to follow. But it also varies based on the age and gender that is given below.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends about 3 liters of water intake each day for men on average. For women on average, it about 2 liters of water intake each day to keep normal body function. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should drink higher than the average women as they tend to lose more water. The water consumption in children and teens also depends upon their age, weight, and mainly physical activity. Some children are more active than the other and lose more water while playing. So, the water consumption varies upon physical activity too. On average, for children and teens, around 1.5 to 2 liters of water consumption each day is recommended.
The problem is that most people don’t know how much water they are intaking each day. In some cases, people forget to drink water when they are at work. It is important to drink water frequently and daily.
Here are some tips to build more water consumption in your daily life.
- Keep a glass or a bottle of water on your work desk.
- Carry a bottle of water with you and fill it up periodically.
- Keep a glass or a bottle of water next to your bed. People are dehydrated mostly in the early morning. So, it is wise to drink water when waking up.
- Drink small quantities of water frequently throughout the day. Make a reminder for it in your phone.
- Switch one of your daily glass of coffee or soda to water.
Check out the HBHM Women’s Health Section.
Water Is Not The Only Source Of Body Fluids
Water is not the exclusive source of your body fluids. There are other sources of fluids such as beverages, fruit juice, and even solid foods. But pure water is the best source for body fluids as it doesn’t contain any calories or unwanted properties. All these sources with pure water count into the total amount of your daily intake of fluids.
But some beverages are not good for your health. For example, fruit juice, soda, and other cold beverages provide the water your body needs but it also increases the sugar and calorie level. People with diabetes, obesity, and other medical conditions are not advised to drink these beverages in high quantities. Hot beverages like coffee have more adverse effects. It provides your body with fluid, but it also has a harmful chemical compound called caffeine. The caffeine causes your body to lose more water through urine. So, it is unsafe for people with dehydration to drink coffee more.
The same goes for alcohol. Like caffeine, it makes your body to lose more water through urine. Other beverages like sports drinks have a high amount of water and electrolyte content. It is useful for people undergoing rigorous exercise and high physical activity as it makes the body lose electrolytes fast.
Don’t forget that certain fruits and vegetables add much to your daily fluid intake. Cucumbers, Iceberg lettuce, watermelon, and celery contains over 90% of water content in it. It provides your body not only with the fluid but also with much-needed vitamins and electrolytes.
To know that you’ve had an adequate amount of water, check for these symptoms. You’d never feel thirsty, and the color of your will be clear, and not yellow. Having dry lips, feeling thirsty all the time, and dark yellow colored urine are warning signs of dehydration. You should drink more water when you see these symptoms.
As with everything, drinking water too high or too low causes health problems. When water is deficient in your body, the condition is called dehydration. When there is excessive water content in your body, it leads to a condition called overhydration.
Check out the HBHM Mens Health Section.
Problems With Water Deficiency In Your Body
Many reasons for water deficiency include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive physical activity, and simply not drinking water. It leads to dehydration and many complications are associated with it.
When there isn’t enough water in your body, your kidneys cannot remove the waste materials through urine. It causes problems in your kidneys and may potentially lead to kidney failure. If the waste materials are not cleared properly, it builds up in your blood and may cause problems to other organs.
It is a more serious life-threatening condition. Low water volume in your blood reduces the blood pressure. It further reduces the amount of oxygen to your organs causing serious complications.
Low body fluid equates to a low number of electrolytes like potassium and sodium in your body. These electrolytes are essential in carrying signals to your brain from cell to cell. Low electrolyte causes serious conditions like loss of consciousness and involuntary muscle contractions like seizures.
Possibly the common complications with dehydration. An important function of the body fluid is to regulate body temperature. When you are doing high physical activity with less body fluid, you have a high chance of heatstroke. It damages body organs and may cause harm to the brain.
When you drink water suddenly after severe dehydration, the cells in your body tries to pull too much water. It causes the cells in your body to swell and rupture. When it happens in your brain cells, it causes swelling in your brain due to high fluid and causes a severe medical condition.
Extreme dehydration when it is not treated leads to a coma. It may even lead to death.
Problems With Excess Water Into Your Body
As stated, dehydration causes lots of problems in our bodies. The opposite of this condition is called overhydration. It happens when you drink too much water than your kidneys can handle. The excess fluids are retained in your body and cause problems. One main life-threatening condition from overhydration is hyponatremia.
Excess water in your body causes the sodium level in your blood to dilute. The normal sodium level in our body helps in balancing the fluid level between inside and outside of the cell. When sodium level falls below a certain limit, it causes the fluids to enter into your body cells making it swell. When this condition happens in your brain cells, it causes a serious life-threatening condition.
Hyponatremia due to overhydration is a rare condition that is highly unlikely to occur. But overhydration causes other conditions like nausea, vomiting, and headache. Therefore, it is important not to overdrink water under any circumstance.
Water is rightly considered as the precious liquid. Along with oxygen, water is significant for human survival. Literally, every cell in our body uses water to survive. Most people are aware of the importance of water and yet they don’t properly hydrate. It is essential to drink an adequate amount of water every day for a healthy life.