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Dehydration Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

Dehydration Paper


October 27, 2012

Water consumption is important to the body in order to maintain optimum health and function properly. The content of this paper will look at a few of the functions of water in the body and what can happen if enough water is not taken in, resulting in dehydration. Following the functions of water, I will discuss dehydration and its stages and symptoms. I will also cover the essential electrolytes in the body, sodium, potassium, and chloride their location, functions, intake recommendations, and the dangers of taking in too much of each. Alcohol and caffeine can have a negative effect on how the body uses water, so I will discuss and ...view middle of the document...

When the body is cold, blood vessels constrict which reduces the blood flow at the surface and conserves heat. Sweating also helps regulate the body’s temperature because when we sweat heat is lost through the skin’s surface, in turn, cooling the body (Grosvenor, et. al., 2006).

Our body excretes waste through urine, feces, and sweating with the help of water. Most of the water lost happens through urination; our kidneys help keep that amount regulated by acting as a type of strainer by filtering out water and smaller molecules from the blood cells and larger molecules. Some water and small molecules end up being reabsorbed in the blood while the rest is excreted during urination and the large molecules and blood cells are retained (Grosvenor, et. al., 2006). Water also aids in the digestion process and helps prevent constipation. As we know, digestion begins in the mouth by the production of saliva, which is water. Water helps food move more easily through the digestive tract. It is also needed in order to digest soluble fiber which helps keep your bowel healthy by forming stools that are soft and easy to pass (Everyday Heath, 2008). If we do not take in enough water, it can cause unwanted health problems and dehydration.

Dehydration is excessive water loss resulting in a depletion of body fluids. When dehydration occurs it can result in a multitude of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In mild dehydration, some of the symptoms that may be experienced include headache, thirst, dry mouth and/or eyes, fatigue, loss of appetite and dark-colored urine. With moderate dehydration the symptoms include problems thinking clearly and an impact to physical performance. In severe cases of dehydration, symptoms include nausea, concentration problems, disorientation, and confusion. Dehydration can be a life-threatening problem if not treated. Without water a person may survive only a few days because a large loss of water leads to a reduction in blood volume which leads to the inability to transport oxygen and nutrients to cells (Grosvenor, et. al., 2006).

Along with water being important to the body, electrolytes are just as important because they regulate fluid balance and maintain acid-base balance in the body. The three key electrolytes are sodium, potassium, and chloride which conduct an electrical current of positive and negative charged ions. The first to discuss is sodium. Sodium is concentrated outside the cells and is a positively charged ion. Nerve cells at rest keep the sodium remaining outside the cell, whereas a stimulated nerve cell allows the sodium ion to move into the cell. It is recommended that adults intake 1500 milligrams of sodium per day in order for our body to function properly. Some of the major functions of sodium in the body are for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and fluid balance. There is a potential to taking in too much sodium which can cause hypertension,...

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