Thursday, February 28, 2013

Importance of Drinking Water - Part 3

               Health problems from insufficient water

How much water do you drink in a day?

To get the full benefits of drinking water, this is a major criteria. How will you know if your body is starved of water? People don’t recognize or care the symptoms the body is showing. Your body shows symptoms of a deficiency. If you neglect the symptoms, it turns into a problem. If you still neglect, it becomes a major disease.

What are the symptoms of insufficient water in your body (dehydration)?
  1. Yellow colored urine. Urine is hot, less in quantity, foamy, smelly and burns while passing.
  2.  Urine gives offensive smell.
  3. Headache
  4. Burning eyes
  5. Skin burns when you go out in hot sun.
  6. Dry mouth, thirsty feeling.
Only the sixth symptom may get some reaction from you. It is the last symptom you get, by which time your body’s dehydration level is quite severe.

What do you do when you are thirsty?

Only a small percentage of people drink water. Others go for soft drinks, coffee, tea, ice cream, beer etc. None of these give the benefits of drinking water. Many mistake it for hunger and go for snacks.

What happens if you don’t take remedial action when the symptoms show up?

You get into many health problems. Even though there may be other reasons for some of the problems given below, not drinking enough water is definitely one of the causes.

  • Insufficient saliva
Water is needed for the secretion of saliva. If your body is starved of water, very little saliva is produced. What does saliva do? You can’t feel the taste in the absence of saliva. It helps in the first stage of digestion of food in your mouth. Easy passage of food from mouth to stomach. 

Without Saliva, food gets obstructed in your throat. Protects mouth from extreme dryness. Protects teeth from bacterial decay by breaking down entrapped food particles. If swallowing becomes difficult or food gets stuck, what people normally do? Push the food with the help of water. They drink water, not because they want to drink it. It is only to push food.

Acidity- burning in stomach
Spicy foods can cause acidity, but only to a small extent. Often, water deficiency is the main reason for acidity. How acidity and water are connected?

When food reaches stomach, gastric acid is produced to digest food. Gastric juice contains hydrochloric acid. Food becomes acidic when the acid mixes with food. To prevent damage of stomach lining from acid, mucus is also produced and forms protective barrier between acidic food and stomach walls.

Water is a major content of this protective mucus. By drinking enough water, sufficient quantity of mucus is produced to protect the stomach. Dehydration of the body results in insufficient mucus and acid enters stomach lining. But, body has provision for 2nd stage protection as well.

As a second stage of protection, sodium bicarbonate is produced in the stomach lining to neutralize hydrochloric acid. Sodium bicarbonate combines with the acid and sodium chloride (salt) is produced. This salt in the stomach lining causes burning.

So the main reason for acidity is water deficiency. By drinking enough water, sufficient quantity of mucus is produced and there is no necessity to activate second stage protection and no formation of salt.

Gastric pain
You get gastric pain after an hour of taking food. After the second stage of digestion, food enters small intestine for the third and final stage of digestion. Food enters small intestine through pyloric valve at the entrance.

When food leaves stomach, it is acidic. If acidic food enters small intestine, it can damage intestine lining and cause ulcers. There is a protection mechanism in the form of pancreatic juice produced by pancreas. Pancreatic juice neutralizes acidic food.

Unless and until acid food is neutralized, pyloric valve doesn’t open and food can’t enter small intestine. Water is needed to produce pancreatic juice. If the body is dehydrated, no water, so no pancreatic juice, Food can’t enter small intestine.

But stomach finished its work and is pushing food towards pyloric valve, which is closed. So you get pain. There may be other reasons, but this is the one related water deficiency.

Slow digestion

Reason? Slow movement of food in intestines. In intestines, food moves through peristaltic movement. Motilin hormone produced in small intestine stimulates peristaltic movement. Water is needed for the production of motilin too. If not drinking enough water, less motilin is produced, resulting in slow peristaltic movement and slow movement of food.

Acid reflex
After 2nd stage of digestion, if the acid food is not neutralized, pyloric valve doesn’t allow food to enter small intestine. Sometimes pyloric valve has irregular contractions and food enters esophagus by reflex mechanism. Again, as in the case of gastric pain, acid reflex is also because of water deficiency.


Constipation is one of the most widespread problems that cause many harmful side effects. Its starting point is water deficiency in the body. How does water deficiency cause constipation? Read all about the importance of drinking water.

Digestion of proteins
Inadequate water in the body causes improper digestion of proteins since proteins need more water for digestion.


Insufficient water in the body triggers release of histamines. If you neglect drinking enough water, there is mechanism in the body to decrease water evaporation and supply the available water to the most needed organs. Histamines control water evaporation by making the respiratory bronchioles (tiny air tubes) contract. It has a side effect- you get breathlessness.

Along with histamines, some more hormones are released. They help in controlling water usage – take water supply from the less needed parts and supply to the most needed parts. In this process, some water is taken away from blood, making it more viscous (thick). If blood becomes think, absorption, transportation and delivery of nutrients become less efficient. In addition, these hormones in the body cause allergies – breathlessness, cold, sneezing etc.

Slow metabolism
Metabolism becomes slow in a dehydrated body. Even though you eat well, you feel that you lack energy.

Erosion of joints, neck pain, lower back pain

These are very common and serious problems people get into by not drinking enough water. That doesn’t mean it’s normal. A joint is a place where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Crackling sounds and erosion of joints is because of insufficient lubrication. A joint has cartilage – a sponge like substance filled with lubricant. When we use the joint, lubricant comes out to prevent friction.

Water is needed for the secretion of lubricant. If cartilage gets less water, there is less or no lubrication and joints make noise and erode due to friction. Similarly, neck pain and lower back pain are also caused by loss of cushioning property of the respective discs. Along with water, sufficient exercise is also needed to keep the joints in good condition.

Kidney stones
This is a very serious problem you get if you ignore drinking enough water. Kidneys filter out excess salts like calcium, oxalates and the filtered substances are sent out in the form of urine. Insufficient body water causes concentration of excess salts in urine and formation of stones.

Halitosis (bad breath) & under-arm smell

People having bad breath use chewing gum, mouth spray or a mouthwash. Many have body smell, especially under-arm smell. What do they do? Take bath and use body spray. You are only hiding the problem. All the smells and skin allergies originate from unclean environment inside. The problem will not go by cleaning outside. Instead, clean inside. Take care that waste matter is removed regularly and completely.

High blood pressure

Many of us don't know that blood pressure is linked with drinking enough water. When the body doesn’t have sufficient water, it tries to conserve the available water by preventing water loss through skin and respiration. How? By vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels). This narrowing of blood vessels causes increase of blood pressure.

Sun allergies

Water protects your body from sun’s heat. Water evaporates through skin and keeps the body cool. When there is insufficient water in the body, water evaporation is prevented and body doesn’t get cooled.

 Urinary infections
Urine consists of toxins, bacteria and acids. When there is enough water in the body, all the waste matter gets diluted and goes out in urine. If the body is dehydrated, there is heavy
concentration of waste matter in urine, causing infections.


Many chronic headaches vanished just by drinking enough water. Headache is the result of insufficient water supply to brain cells. Did you observe that more females suffer from headache than males? Females drink less water so that they need not visit toilet often.

Swelling of joints and other parts

Here, the basic culprit is salt. Insufficient water causes accumulation of salt, mainly in joints. Salt attracts water. In spite of water shortage for other essential functions, water gathers where ever there is salt – places where there is less movement. Drinking more water causes salt being taken away through urine and sweat.

Weight gain

Water shortage causes weight gain in indirect way. When you feel thirsty because of body dehydration, 

  1. You mistake it for hunger and eat more food. 
  2.  Even when you know you are thirsty, you don’t go for water. Instead, you go for beer, ice cream or other sugar filled beverages. 
 These things are filled with empty calories that get stored in the body as fat, causing weight gain.

You can be free from such serious health problems by drinking enough water. You are not required to be hospitalized, no need to run behind the doctors, not even swallow a few pills. Such an easy and effective solution - just drinking enough water. Right now, start getting all the benefits of drinking water.

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