The human body can live for approximately 3 days without water, but this doesn’t mean it will be functioning at full capacity. Dehydration is the condition that exists when your body begins to lose more water than you drink. The body looses water primarily through perspiration, respiration and elimination of waste. Long before you feel thirsty, you can actually begin to dehydrate. Even slight dehydration will impair your health.
Diuretics such as alcohol, beer, coffee, tea and caffeine increase the amount of water lost in these natural processes. Drinking salt water increases the amount of salt in your body and forces fluids from your organs in order to dilute it. This diminishes your body’s fluids at a greater rate than if you hadn’t drank anything.
Without the proper amount of water, metabolic processes slow. The water content of your blood decreases and it thickens to the consistency of sauce. This increases the strain on your circulatory system. Blood pressure can fall to dangerously low levels. Blood clots may form. Normal kidney function can be impaired.
Fatigue and thirst occur if the water content of your body drops by only 2%. Other symptoms include things like lethargy, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, mental fuzziness and depression. Any difficulty functioning emotionally or physically is made more severe by mild dehydration.
As dehydration becomes severe, your mouth will feel quite dry. This is known as "cotton mouth," and you may notice a crease forming on your tongue. The frequency and volume of urination will decrease. Your urine will take on a deep yellow or orange color and have a strong odor. As dehydration progresses, your eyes will become dry and sunken; your heart rate will increase.
In severe cases urination will stop completely. Lethargy will increase, along with irritability, and you will become nauseated. Vomiting will dehydrate you even more. Once your condition becomes severe with water levels dropping by more than 10%, a failure to rehydrate is fatal.
The time to prevent dehydration is before you are threatened with a lack of proper drinking water. Take the time to learn how to filter AND disinfect found water sources with basic tools. Become skilled in locating natural water sources. It’s not a good idea be left trying to remember untested skills and information while you are suffering from mental confusion brought on by dehydration. Not only is it frustrating, bickering among dehydrated group members with poor thinking skills can be deadly. When you find yourself in survival situation, you’ll be very thankful you took the time to see to this basic need.