Our bodies need plenty of water to be able to function properly, which isn’t too surprising when you consider that so much of it is made up of water. We lose water every day whenever we breath, sweat, use the bathroom, and even blink. If you don’t replace what you’re losing, it can lead to dehydration.
Even being just a little bit dehydrated can make you feel tired and affect your concentration levels. You’ll probably first notice it if you get headaches or a dry mouth. For those of us with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s who already struggle with a myriad of symptoms, staying well hydrated makes a whole lot of sense.
If you’re dehydrated more often than not, it can affect your health and well-being in many ways. In this blog, you’ll discover some of the things that can happen if you don’t drink enough to maintain good health.
How To Tell if You’re Dehydrated
First, how can you spot the signs that you might be dehydrated? A few of the things that may signal this include:
- Being thirsty
- Feeling dizzy or light headed
- Feeling tired and fatigued
- Having dark colored urine that may also have a strong smell
- A dry mouth and dry lips
- Muscle cramps
- Dark colored urine
- Not going to the bathroom much and not passing much urine when you do go
You could be more likely to be dehydrated if you have diabetes, aren’t feeling well, have spent a while out in the sun, got sweaty after working out, or are taking diuretics that make you head to the bathroom more.
Dehydration and Inflammation
Dehydration can increase the amount of inflammation in your body. As you probably know, inflammation is heavily linked to a lot of illnesses so this isn’t something you want to encourage! High blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and even cancer are just a few of the health problems linked to inflammation.
Dehydration and Immunity
If you’re dehydrated, it’s a lot harder for your body to get rid of toxins and waste products. And if this is the case, it can affect how well your body can fight off infections and other illnesses. Higher levels of inflammation in your body can also have a negative effect on your immunity.
Experts also think that chronic dehydration can make your immune system more likely to turn in on itself and attack healthy cells as well as threats. This is a key factor in autoimmune conditions. Hello, Hashimoto’s!
Dehydration and Kidney Health
When it’s hard to remove waste products from the body, they can build up and cause uremia, an overload of toxic waste products.
When you don’t drink enough water, it can actually cause your body to retain water. Your kidneys may produce less urine and capillaries may constrict in areas such as the brain and heart. This can cause kidney damage if it’s a chronic problem.
Dehydration and Heart Health
Not being properly hydrated can also impact your cardiovascular system, in particular, affecting blood flow. To begin with, your blood pressure is likely to drop, which is why you’re prone to feeling dizzy. As your body tries to raise it again, it can put a lot of strain on your heart.
There’s another factor that involves the production of a chemical that encourages the blood vessels to constrict more. This also increases your blood pressure as your body finds it harder to pump blood. Again, your heart will be under more stress.
Dehydration and Brain Health
Headaches and concentration problems are some of the signs of mild dehydration but the effects on your brain can reach far beyond this. Your brain needs a fair amount of water to keep functioning at its best — even more so than the rest of your body. This is why even slight dehydration can have a big impact on your cognition and energy levels. It’s also been linked to depression.
Dehydration and Digestive Health
Usually, you’ll lose a decent amount of water in your stool and this helps it to be passed more easily. If you’re not very hydrated, your body will try to hang onto more water and try to extract water from digested food in your small intestine. The end result? Constipation is a lot more likely. Your stool will be harder and drier, which can be a lot more difficult to pass. Constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, so drinking enough water is key to getting relief.
Dehydration and Joint Health
Your joints need a certain amount of lubrication to stop them from rubbing against each other. Not drinking enough water can upset this delicate balance. If you’re well hydrated, any cartilage that does start to wear away will be replaced by new cartilage. But if you’re dehydrated, this can take a lot longer to happen. The nutrients that you need for repair and renewal find it much harder to reach their destination and can cause joint problems.
Have You Had Enough Water Today?
So there you have it — staying well hydrated can help your immunity and digestion, and keep your heart, kidneys, joints and brain healthier. Have you had enough water today?
If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, you’re invited to join our private Hypo & Hashi’s Help Facebook community where every so often we run a free 4-Day Hydration Challenge. You’ll learn simple strategies to ensure you stay well hydrated. Not a member of our group yet? You can request access to join by clicking on this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hypoandhashishelp/