Is being dehydrated really as bad for you as being drunk?
A new study says drinking too little water is just as hazardous as alcohol
You've heard of drunk drivers, now there's another peril on the road the dry driver! A new study says getting behind the wheel when dehydrated makes you just as hazardous as being under the influence of alcohol.
The research from Loughborough University showed drivers who drank 25ml (a couple of sips) of water an hour, instead of the recommended 200ml (a third of a pint), made twice the number of mistakes as those who were well-hydrated.
When am i dehydrated?
Mild dehydration sets in when we lose between just 1 or 2 percent of our body's normal water volume. For an 11st man, whose body contains 42 litres of water, that's 840ml - just Four glasses. But even at this mild point, people start to become confused.
Even more dangerously, our ability to asses accurately how we feel starts to fade, according to research. This can mean we lose touch with the warning signs from our body that we are beginning to get more seriously dehydrated. Though rectified quickly after a few glasses of water, frequent mild dehydration can cause longer-term problems, such as tooth decay, as we lack sufficient water to make protective saliva.
The study on drivers reinforces earlier research, which reported that dehydrated young men found it harder to think, remember or co-ordinate their limbs. And a brain scan study by psychiatrists at King's College in London found 90 minutes of steady sweating can shrink the brain as much as a year of ageing. Physical changes caused by dehydration were likened to those in Alzheimer's patients. If left untreated, sever dehydration can cause seizures, brain damage and death.
Perhaps most obviously, one of the first signs of dehydration is feeling thirsty. Other common signs include headaches, lethargy and feeling light headed. Frequency of urination is another indicator. Healthy individuals should be able to pass water at least four times a day. But the best way to tell is by monitoring the colour of your urine. Pale yellow is best, whilst any darker means that the urine is more concentrated, suggesting you are not drinking enough.
The best way to avoid dehydration is to drink enough water and what better way to do that is fresh filtered water free of impurities that are used to clean your mains fed water.
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