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How much water should you really drink?
How much water should you really drink?

In some cases, water can do harm rather than help.

How much water should you really drink?
How much water should you really drink?

Drinking is a real fetish of the modern world. If you are sick, drink more, if you want to lose weight, drink more. This is suggested to us by both reputable doctors and celebrities who have happily got rid of the weight of extra pounds.

Meanwhile, water is not as useful as it seems. And sometimes even harmful. The life hacker figured out how much to drink to help the body, not harm.

How much water is needed for health

Perhaps there is no person who has not heard about the rule of 8 glasses a day. The opinion that this is exactly how much water you need to drink every day has been wandering around the planet for many years now. Nevertheless, it is at least doubtful.

The earliest mention of it dates back to 1921. For exactly one day, the author of the study diligently measured how much fluid his body loses when urinating and in the form of sweat, counted 8 glasses and suggested that it was this amount that needed to be reimbursed. That is, the principles of calculating water consumption have long been based on the characteristics of the body of a particular person. A bit strange, don't you think?

More careful and attentive to nuances, modern researchers find it difficult to accurately indicate how much water should be drunk daily. For example, the American National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine defines adequate daily fluid rates using the word "approximately":

  1. Approximately 3.7 L for men.
  2. Approximately 2.7 L for women.

It is estimated that 80% of this amount enters the body through any beverages, including milk, fruit juices, and those containing caffeine, and 20% from solid foods (vegetables or fruits).

Approximately (again, check this keyword!) The same figures are supported by the World Health Organization. These estimates apply to people with moderate physical activity in moderate ambient temperatures.

If the physical activity is more, and the temperature is higher (say, you went on a hike in the summer heat), the amount of fluid will have to be increased.

How much? But this is already an individual question that requires a special approach and the introduction of additional terminology.

How to know how much water to drink


Doctors identify two key signs that you are getting enough fluid:

  1. You are not thirsty.
  2. Your urine is colorless or light yellow.

It's like that? This means that you can relax: with the drinking regimen you are okay, it is not necessary to fill yourself with additional volumes of liquid (even if it seems to you or someone that you are not drinking enough).

If at least one of the signs is present, it is worth deliberately adding a glass of water, compote, fruit drink or juice between meals: drinks will reduce the likelihood of dehydration.

The prospect of dehydration should be approached especially if you are in one of the following risk groups:

1. You are engaged in physical labor or sports

Any activity that makes you sweat is an obvious indication for drinking an extra glass of water before, during or after it, even if you don't feel like it.

2. You are in highlands or hot and dry climates

These environmental parameters make you sweat intensely (although sweat may not be visible on the outside due to intense evaporation) and, accordingly, lose more fluid than usual. Losses require compensation: do not forget to carry a bottle of water with you and take a sip from it regularly.

3. You have a fever and / or vomiting or diarrhea

The higher the temperature, the more moisture is lost (evaporated) by the skin and the body as a whole. Dehydration in this case is extremely dangerous, because it is increasing. The more fluid the body loses, the less the body's ability to resist disease, the higher the temperature. This means that moisture loss increases again.

Therefore, in such conditions, doctors recommend drinking as much as possible. This includes using oral rehydration solutions that retain water and prevent dehydration.

4. You are pregnant or breastfeeding

The US Women's Health Administration recommends that pregnant women consume at least 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluid and those who are breastfeeding at least 13 cups (3.1 liters) daily.

How dehydration manifests itself

An adult, responsible person who has the time and resources to take care of his health is unlikely to miss the symptoms of dehydration. But the world is imperfect, and sometimes there is neither time nor resources. For example, if the deadline is approaching, you will easily ignore your thirst. If the rush is delayed, there is a risk of imperceptibly arranging a moisture deficit in the body.

Also, overweight wrestlers often expose themselves. Having found out that water affects the number on the scales, some begin to limit themselves in fluids or abuse diuretics.

It is impossible not to remember about young children who simply cannot tell adults that they are thirsty. Elderly people are also at risk: with age, the feeling of thirst becomes less acute, so the elderly cannot always adequately assess how much water they need. In addition, the problem is often exacerbated by chronic diseases such as diabetes or dementia and taking medications with a diuretic side effect.

Thirst appears when the body loses 2% of water. Dehydration occurs when you have lost about 5% of your fluid.

If it is impossible to find out whether a person is getting enough moisture, you can use indirect signs indicating the development of dehydration:

  1. Dizziness.
  2. Unmotivated fatigue.
  3. Infrequent urination (for example, in babies, the diaper stays dry for 3 hours or more).
  4. Constipation.

There are also less obvious symptoms of dehydration. In no case can you ignore them: you should increase your fluid intake, and if it does not help, consult a doctor: a therapist or pediatrician.

Why is dehydration dangerous?


Here are just a few of the complications that fluid loss can cause.

1. Problems with urination and kidneys

Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure.

2. Convulsions

Together with sweat and urine, electrolytes (sodium, potassium and others) are excreted from the body. Meanwhile, they help to transfer electrical signals from cell to cell. Due to a lack of moisture and electrolytes, signals can become confused, which often leads to involuntary muscle contractions - seizures, and sometimes even loss of consciousness.

3. Hypovolemic shock

This is the name of a decrease in blood volume, and its connection with dehydration is also obvious, because blood is largely composed of water. Hypovolemic shock causes a sharp drop in blood pressure, and also leads to the fact that organs and tissues receive less oxygen. This is a very dangerous complication.

So, maybe, start pouring water into yourself glass by glass in order to prevent either unpleasant symptoms or more serious complications? Stop stop. For the sake of fairness, we note that water is a medicine that, in case of an overdose, can become poison.

What is water intoxication

Water dilutes the trace elements contained in tissues and blood. If there is too much water, salts and other electrolytes lose their ability to adequately conduct electrical signals. This condition is called overhydration or water intoxication.

Two factors influence the development of overhydration. A person either drinks so much that the kidneys do not have time to remove fluid in the form of urine, or for some reason (diabetes, kidney, liver disease, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), moisture is retained in the body. Fatal water intoxication can even be fatal.

Therefore, if for some reason you decide to drink more water, you should consult your doctor before starting. You may need to get tested and find alternatives to some of the drugs you are using.