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From Mild to Persistent to Dangerous  —  The Risks of Being Under-Hydrated are Very Real

If you’re like almost half of Americans, you aren’t drinking enough water — and the consequences can be hard to recognize until it’s too late

What are the real risks of being under-hydrated? When you don’t drink enough water, your body will try to compensate. It will scramble to make adjustments where possible and prioritize key organs and systems. But as with everything, these adjustments your body makes operate in shades of severity across a spectrum of risks. Plenty of research shows that even a moderately insufficient level of water intake can have negative effects on your body in subtle ways. The problem is that many people don’t associate fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, and bad skin with dehydration. The assumption is that it’s some other malady, or maybe just a poor night’s sleep. 

Also worth noting: older adults have a higher risk of dehydration. This is because people often feel less thirsty as they get older, and the body begins to store less water. Same goes for younger folks who engage in a lot of strenuous exercise — the more you sweat, the more vigilant you need to be about how much water you drink.

At its mildest intensity, lack of hydration will appear in subtle ways that might be hard to pinpoint or tie back to your water consumption. Your body wants to be hydrated and when it doesn’t get the water it needs, it lets you know through a variety of means. Dehydration is hard on your body and your body will fight back; it just might not be screaming loud enough for you to hear it. You just need to recognize the signals:

As your levels of hydration drop, you might encounter some specific health issues that aren’t as easy to ignore:

On the other end of the extreme, when you don’t drink enough water, over time the sodium composition in your blood can increase. That can trigger the body to release a hormone called vasopressin, which can cause blood vessels to constrict. The narrower our blood vessels, the harder your heart is going to have to pump in order to maintain proper circulation. Now, your blood pressure will start ticking up. 

In either case, it’s more proof that water is your friend. (source:

In the extreme, depriving yourself of water can result in very serious conditions and harm. These conditions, like the ones above, usually have several root causes, but they are exacerbated by lack of hydration:

From the mild to the more dire consequences of not drinking enough water, it’s important to be cognizant of the signals your body is sending you. Some might be hard to recognize if you aren’t on the lookout for them. And getting enough water in your system also requires you to be proactive and attentive about your daily intake.

The most oft-cited reason for people struggling to maintain proper levels of hydration is that many find water to be boring or bland. Or — once people get to their second or third liter in a day, the lack of any taste in water makes the process feel like a chore. That’s why it’s great to have a bottle or two of Hint on hand to bring a little variety to your hydration. Hint offers over twenty fruit flavors and smash-ups, as well as caffeinated and sparkling options to help you avoid the minor and major risks of dehydration.

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