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“Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water” ("U.S. Geological Survey", 2011). The human body is over 60% water; some if its organs are even higher. Without water or enough of it, there is no life. Dehydration is losing excessive amounts of water and not receiving enough to replenish what is lost. Without proper hydration the body can’t function properly. The body can’t store water. Therefore, maintaining water balance in the body is very important.
Function of Water in the Body
Water helps with many different body functions. “Water bathes the cells of the body and lubricates and cleanses internal and external body surface” (Wiley, 2012). Water is an important factor in joint lubrication and the building of cartilage. It also helps with production of energy, cell function, and metabolism. Water also helps the body by maintaining temperature (sweat). Another important function is the removal of waste from the body (uric acids).
Water is Essential
The amount of water need varies. It depends on age, temperature, and activities. Children need more hydration than adults. The elderly also need more hydration because the levels drop with age. Participation in physical activity will also increase the need for proper hydration. In hotter climates or physical activity it is easier to become dehydrated. As the body produces sweat to cool its temperature, hydration levels drop.
Dehydration Symptoms and Issues
Dehydration can have devastating consequences. It can make a person very ill or even cause death. Water is essential for all life. There is no chance for survival without adequate amounts of water to stay hydrated. Because the brain is 70% water, dehydration can cause confusion or even coma. When the body is dehydrated the blood flow to the brain slows significantly. Dehydration “can decrease blood flow to vital organs like the kidneys, and like any organ with a decreased blood flow; it has the potential to fail to do its job” ("Medicine net”, n.d.). Kidney failure is a common result of dehydration. There is also a risk for shock. This is from slowed blood flow and lower oxygen levels delivered to organs, which leads to cell and organ failure.
Symptoms of Dehydration
One symptom of dehydration is muscle cramps. Muscles will tense and cramp when there is not enough water in the body. Over exertion will lead to heat exhaustion when the body can’t produce sweat. When dehydration affects the brain it is difficult to think clearly. A person may become confused and disoriented. Other symptoms include tiredness, fainting, decreased appetite, headache, and nausea.
“Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge” (Dugale, 2011). These important ...
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