As the weather is getting warmer, we tend to forget to drink the sufficient amount of water that our body needs to function properly. Sometimes we can be dehydrated but we don’t even realize it. But your body has ways of letting you know that you need to grab a glass of water as soon as possible. Here are some unusual signs that you are dehydrated that you might not have known.
“When you’re dehydrated, it can be difficult for organs such as the liver, which uses water, to release glycogen [stored glucose] and other components of your energy stores, so you can actually get cravings for food,” says John Higgins, MD. Glucose is a major source of fuel for our cells, and water helps this process. A lack of fluids can make it probable for you to crave snacks, especially sweets because your body is asking for the energy that it needs.
According to William Morrison, MD, muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions that occur in various muscles that can be triggered by dehydration. That is why it is important to not only increase your water intake but also your calcium and potassium intake if you are getting frequent and long-lasting muscle cramps. It is also helpful to stay hydrated as you work out so muscle cramps don’t occur. “The hotter you get, the more likely you are to get muscle cramps, and that’s from a pure heat effect on the muscles. As the muscles work harder and harder, they can seize up from the heat itself,” says Higgins.
Your skin is also able to warn you if you are dehydrated. According to Anne Marie Tremaine, MD, dehydrated skin will feel tight and appear dull when you look in the mirror. You will also notice more exaggerated wrinkles and darker under-eye circles. Tremaine suggests testing your skin by pinching your cheeks and if it wrinkles with gentle pressure, it means you are dehydrated. Tremaine also suggests keeping showers short and using lukewarm water to not dry your skin even more.
“Saliva has important antibacterial properties. When dehydrated, the decreased saliva in the mouth allows bacteria to thrive, resulting in bad breath,” says Marshall Young, DDS. Dehydration can not only give you bad breath, but it can also make your mouth feel dry. It is the reason why we wake up with bad breath because our body produces less saliva as we sleep, so it is suggested to rehydrate, especially once you wake up in the morning.
You could be sweating but why does your skin feel cool to the touch? It can mean that you have chills and are dehydrated. “This occurs because your body starts to limit blood flow to the skin,” says Luga Podesta, MD. Water holds heat, so when you drink enough water, it will become difficult for your body to lower your body temperature. Drinking water after getting chills is important because it reduced your chances of hyperthermia and getting a fever.
“Lack of water affects your body’s serotonin levels, which can give you headaches,” says Ray Casciari, MD. It is suggested to drink plenty of water when having a headache because small blood vessels in the brain respond quickly to hydration levels. According to Casciari, another way to rehydrate to help a headache is eating fruits that contain a lot of water like watermelon, blackberries, and grapefruit.