Are you dehydrated? While many people will say they are not, statistics say otherwise: it estimated over 1 million people in North America show signs of dehydration. The human body is composed primarily of water, so it is essential a person get adequate amounts of water to keep the body regulated and working properly. Unfortunately, not everyone drinks the recommended 8-10 glasses of water daily as they should. As a result, they may be experiencing symptoms of dehydration. Top Signs of Dehydration: While thirst is the primary sign of dehydration, it is not the only one. A person may not feel thirsty but still have one or more of the following signs of dehydration: Heat stroke/heat exhaustion. Water helps keep the body cool, and a lack of water can increase the risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, especially when exercising in hot environments. Constipation. Water is needed for digestion, which is essential for bowel movements. A person who is dehydrated may have difficulty moving their bowels. Muscle cramps. Water keeps the muscles relaxed and fluid. A lack of water can cause muscle spasms, especially in the calf and abdomen. Lightheaded. Dehydration can cause a person’s blood pressure to drop, which can cause lightheadedness if they stand up too quickly. Increased heart rate. When a person is dehydrated, their electrolyte levels may decrease, which can cause heart palpitations. Urine is dark yellow. If a person is drinking enough water, their urine is clear. When a person is dehydrated, the kidneys are attempting to store water instead of releasing it through urine, causing the urine to be darker in color. Fatigue. Dehydration can cause a drop in blood pressure and blood flow, which can cause fatigue. A person can experience any of these symptoms and not realize they are caused by dehydration. The Top Causes of Dehydration.2 There are many other potential causes of dehydration: • Thirst • Diabetes • Exercise • Pregnancy • Alcohol • High altitudes • Breastfeeding • High sodium diet • Stress • Irritable Bowel Syndrome • Diarrhea • Menstrual cycles • Soda, caffeine and sugary drinks A person should consider drinking an extra glass of water (or 2) daily if they exhibit any of these characteristics or symptoms. Top Hydrating Foods There are many foods that have a high water content. In addition to drinking water, eating the fruits and veggies listed below can help a person stay hydrated:3 Fruit Water Content by Percentage • 90% and above: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit • 85%- 89%r: raspberries, pineapples, plums, peaches, oranges, cranberries, apricots, blueberries • 80%-84%: apples, cherries, grapes, pears Vegetable Water Content by Percentage • 90% and above: iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet peppers, spinach, romaine lettuce • 85%-89%: Carrots, winter squash, parsley, hot peppers, kale, Brussel sprouts • 80%-84%: green peas, artichoke, leek Signs of dehydration can appear in many forms. Making an effort to drink water daily and eat foods high in water content can go a long way in keeping a person healthy and hydrated.