Water is virtually everywhere from soil moisture and ice caps, to the cells inside human bodies. It is the very source of life and the most precious commodity that has no taste, no colour and no odour yet water plays a vital role in the livelihood of a human being. It basically fills humans with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses.
Studies have shown that optimal hydration can lower the chance of stroke, help manage diabetes, and potentially reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Through sweat, going to the bathroom or simply by just breathing one loses water and even faster when the temperatures are high. Other health related issues like vomiting and diarrhoea can also lead to rapid water loss therefore dehydrating the body.
Water is life
The essence of water in one’s body goes far beyond the quenching of thirst. Dr Simon Emvula, a doctor at the Windhoek Central Hospital explains that water is by far the most important nutrient for the human body next to oxygen because the human body equally needs water in order to survive. Drinking water can help the flow of water in the body and helps keep blood circulation going.
Water helps carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells, and helps remove toxins. It can also help regulate body temperature and store extra heat in the body. “Overall, it is important in keeping everything moving in the body, so that it can perform its everyday functions,” he added. Significantly, water is essential for digestion. It helps with the removal of toxins from the body as well as the nutrient absorption and chemical reactions.
Patrick Babikanyisa says that he is a big fan of water and not only does water energise him, but it keeps him healthy. “I never understood how important it is, but I do today thus I cannot go through the day without water. Water is life”, adds Patrick. Drinking water after waking up, before a meal, before a bath and before going to bed are considered to be the most appropriate times of consuming water.
If you don’t take a sip
Thirst is a body’s way of saying it has ran short of water. Dehydration can have a detrimental effect on the human body such that when the body is dehydrated it has to work twice as hard to ration and distribute the amount of available water because the body has no reserve system. Dr Emvula explains that the failure to drink enough fluids leads to the swelling of the brain commonly known as cerebral edema.
Sometimes when one tries to take fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into their cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. Dehydration may also cause Seizures.
Electrolytes such as potassium and sodium help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If the electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which leads to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
Low blood volume shock is also one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in one’s body.
The potentially life threatening problem occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from the blood. “When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal,” advised the Emvula.
How much water is enough?
It has been said that people should drink adequate water but how much is enough? Can one drink too much? The information regarding water intake varies, with some suggestions saying that the intake of water should constitute eight glasses of water a day and others suggesting two liters a day especially for women.
Humans are essentially made up of water. For a long time, conventional wisdom said that humans should drink eight glasses of water a day which has since been fine-tuned.
Dr Emvula stated that there are many different opinions on how much water one should be drinking every day. “The health authorities commonly recommend eigh glasses, which equals about 2 litres,” he added.
Keeping an eye on the urine will makes people aware of the amount of water they need and if they are dehydrated or not. If the urine is consistently colourless or light yellow it indicates that the body is well hydrated whereas dark yellow urine is the opposite.
Water makes up sixty per cent of a human body weight and is needed to help all body organs function. It is, thus, of necessity that one’s body is hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. However, the temperature, the amount of activities that one do and their weight influence the amount of water that the body needs. When one drinks enough water, their urine will have a light yellow or clear colour.
Water is life and without it human bodies cannot function properly. Bearing in mind that the body is made up of at least fifty percent of water; one may want to make water their beverage of choice as often as they can.
Drinking water will also improve the health state of an individual and it will contribute to the life expectancy. No matter what, getting the right amount of liquid makes a world of difference in how one will feel, think, and function day to day.
Raise your glass (of water)!