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Dehydration causes Muscle Cramps and More

Posted by Jane Jansen on

In this extreme heat across the United States it's easy how quickly one can become dehydrated and how important it was to drink lots of water.

An ex-NFL player, Mitch Petrus who was only 32 years old died from heat stroke when he worked outside all day at his parents shop.

When we lose too much water, and don’t replenish it, the body becomes out of balance/ dehydrated, which can lead to chills, confusion, dizziness, fainting, blood clots, seizures, palpitations and sometimes fatal complications. The urine can become dark yellow or amber, or may have a foul odor. Research has shown that even mild dehydration can have adverse effects on mood and energy.

Being out in the hot sun is not the only way to become dehydrated. There are numerous causes, particularly as you get older. Studies have found after age 50 the ability to recognize thirst decreases and the kidneys lose some of their precision in regulating the body's water supply. To complicate matters some medications like diuretics, antihistamines, psychiatric drugs as well as people who drink less water because of frequent urination problems are at even higher risk.

Signs of dehydration can be:

Muscle Spasm/Cramping : When the nerves that connect to the muscles aren't surrounded by as much water and sodium (salt) as they need, they become hypersensitive, causing the muscles to involuntarily contract or spasm. Low blood levels of either calcium or magnesium directly increase the excitability of both the nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate. Low blood levels of potassium occasionally cause muscle cramps, although it is more common in muscle weakness.

Bad Breath: Dr. John Higgins, M.D., associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Texas in Houston, and chief of cardiology at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital says, “If you’re not producing enough saliva in the mouth, you can get bacteria overgrowth and one of the side reactions of that is bad breath from chronic dehydration.”

Headaches/ Dizziness : When you're liquid-deprived the blood becomes more concentrated, which causes inflammatory proteins circulating in the blood to irritate nerves surrounding the brain. As your body temperature increases, the blood vessels in your brain to dilate leading to a dizzy spell &/or headache. Dehydration causes changes in electrolyte balances in the blood, which directly affect parts of the mind responsible for reasoning. Changes in electrolyte levels can alter brain levels of serotonin, which influences mood.

If you think you are experiencing heat stroke get emergency help right away!

To prevent dehydration make sure to keep your body cool using cold compresses. Drink water regularly and for extra protection add a small amount of Willard Water Dark to your water to replenish the minerals that get lost and to keep your body in balance and drink throughout the day. Also take breaks and get indoors preferably with air conditioning or at least in the shade outside, Eat small frequent meals/snacks to maintain your blood sugar levels.

Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center

Host of Holistic Healthline Radio.


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