Dehydration Can Cause Chronic Pain
Do you experience persistent pain in your joints, muscles, stomach, gut, or back; or perhaps you have frequent headaches or chronic constipation? Your body may use chronic pain to warn you that you have become chronically dehydrated.
Being chronically dehydrated changes your physiology and creates complications that are often mistakenly labeled as diseases.
It’s estimated that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. The human body is approximately 65-70% water, depending on what stage of life you’re in. The brain is about 80-85% water and is extremely sensitive to dehydration.
12 Symptoms of Chronic Dehydration
According to Dr. Dave Carpenter, author of Change Your Water, Change Your Life, the following are 12 of the more common symptoms of chronic dehydration:
Fatigue. Water is the most important source of energy in the body. Dehydration causes the enzymatic activity in the body to slow down, producing tiredness and fatigue. Thus, one of the earliest signs of chronic dehydration is fatigue.
Constipation. The colon is one of the first places the body pulls water when it is short of water in order to provide fluids for other critical functions in the body. Without adequate water, wastes move through the large intestines much more slowly. In fact, sometimes they don’t move at all. Thus, constipation is almost always one of the primary symptoms of chronic dehydration.
High blood pressure. The blood is normally about 94 percent water when the body is fully hydrated. When dehydrated, the blood is thicker causing resistance to blood flow, which thus can raise blood pressure.
High cholesterol. When the body is dehydrated, it will produce more cholesterol to seal off water loss from the cells. Cholesterol deposits within the cell membrane act to prevent additional cell water loss, ultimately for survival.
Acid-alkaline imbalance. The ideal environment for the health of the body is slightly alkaline. Our blood, in fact, is always slightly alkaline, usually ranging between 7.3 and 7.4 pH (7.0 being neutral). Dehydration significantly reduces the ability of the body to eliminate acid wastes.
Digestive disorders. The body needs an adequate supply of water to produce a wide array of digestive juices. A shortage of water and alkaline minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, can lead to a host of digestive disorders, including ulcers, gastritis and acid reflux.
Asthma and allergies. Another way the body rations water when dehydrated, as a survival mechanism, is by restricting airways. Respiratory problems are key symptoms of chronic dehydration. The rate of histamine produced by the body increases exponentially as the body loses more and more water. According to Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, chronic dehydration “is the primary cause of allergies and asthma in the human body.” Drinking plenty of water is the single most important natural remedy for asthma.
Weight gain. When dehydrated, cells are depleted of energy. They then have to rely on energy generation from food rather than water. People thus tend to eat more when, in reality, the body is thirsty. In addition, the body will not metabolize fat unless the body is adequately hydrated to safely remove dangerous toxins that are often stored in fat cells.
Skin disorders. The skin is the largest elimination organ in the human body. In a dehydrated body, the first site for water conservation is the skin. Dehydration impairs the elimination of toxins through the skin and makes it more vulnerable to all types of skin disorders, including dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as premature wrinkling and discoloration.
Joint pain or stiffness. All joints have cartilage padding, which covers the bone structures in the joint, providing necessary lubrication. The cartilage itself is composed mainly of water. When the body is dehydrated, cartilage is weakened and joint repair is slow. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the joints in which the pain is felt depends on where the localized drought has set in.
Bladder or kidney problems. As with all of the organs of elimination, when the body is dehydrated, toxins are not eliminated as well. The accumulation of toxins and acid waste create an environment where bacteria thrive. Thus, when dehydrated the bladder and kidney become more prone to infection, inflammation and pain.
Premature aging. When the body is chronically dehydrated, the skin begins to wrinkle prematurely. More importantly, what we don’t see is the same wrinkling and withering effect on the internal organs. The most effective and the most inexpensive way (by far!) to slow the aging process is to drink enough water, especially as we get older.
Thirst is a poor way of monitoring your water needs because a dry mouth sensation means your body has already become dehydrated.
What Counts as Water?
Fruits are an excellent source for water. Watermelon is 90% water, so it ranks highest on the list. Oranges, grapefruit, and melons like cantaloupe and honeydew are also strong contenders.
You don’t have to drink lots of water! Eat your water!
Vegetables, though not as full of water as fruit, can also provide a nutrient-rich water source. Stick with celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and Romaine lettuce.
There are also plenty of hidden sources of water in your diet such as oatmeal, yogurt, soup, and smoothies. Juices and sports drinks are also hydrating — you can lower the sugar content by diluting them with water.
Coffee and tea also count in your tally. Many used to believe that they were dehydrating, but that myth has been debunked. The diuretic effect does not offset hydration.
Alcohol is a huge dehydrator. You should try to limit your intake, but if you are going to raise a glass, aim for at least a one-to-one ratio with water.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add lemon to it. Or test out your own concoction, like sparkling water with raspberries with a sprig of mint.
What’s a good water hydration calculator to determine how much water you need to drink daily to prevent chronic dehydration?
Take your weight, divide by 2…that’s how many ounces a day you should drink.
For example: a 200 pound person divide by 2=100 ounces a day. Bottled water is about 17 ounces…so, 6 of those bottles a day is a great gauge to use.