The Alcohol Road To Chronic Dehydration
When you talk about the dangers of over consumption you usually hear about some of the major offenders. Cirrhosis of the liver being on the top of the list. Another danger less talked about but lurking in the background is cellular dehydration. We have all heard not to drink in the heat because it will dehydrate you but heavy long term drinking without adequate hydration is as dangerous.
When drinking alcohol you will urinate an astounding 60% more fluid then you took in. Alcohol runs interference on normal water levels in the body. All fluids are not created equal. Alcohol contains ingredients that act as a diuretic. Diuretics cause forced urination generally as soon as 20 min after consumption.
Mild to moderate dehydration is why you experience a hangover and symptoms such as headache, grogginess, tingling in the extremities and other symptoms of dehydration. The body is made up from 55% — 60% of water. Alcohol interferes with waters homeostasis and begins to effect you in a negative way. You will experience mild symptoms at only a 1% — 2% water loss.
These symptoms include a dry mouth, decreased and dark urination, lightheadedness and the ever loved headache. From here the symptoms get worse. At 5%-6% you experience all of the previously stated symptoms plus low blood pressure, muscle cramps, tingling in the extremities and more. At 10% — 15% can include muscle spasms, rapid breathing, chest pains, coma and death.
As an average healthy adult, you should drink a minimum of half your body’s weight in ounces per day to keep in balance. So, for example, at 180lbs you would need at least 60oz or 5 12oz bottles daily. Most of us do not come close to this goal without a concerted effort. When you add alcohol and/or other diuretic beverages, such as soda and coffee, to this deficiency you begin down the path of chronic dehydration.
This is the danger for daily drinkers, and also drinkers who binge throughout the week. This may be the cause for your lack of motivation due to fatigue and energy loss. Weight gain is also attributed to chronic dehydration because many times thirst is confused with hunger. Respiratory and sinus problems are also prevalent as well as a whole host of other issues.
One of the first symptoms, for many, may be muscle cramping and spasms such as a » Charley Horse». This is cause by a chronic dehydration because of the depletion of potassium and other electrolytes. Replacing the depleted electrolytes in your body is a necessary treatment for chronic dehydration. This may be accomplished by supplementing your diet with foods high in potassium and magnesium. Foods such as bananas, raisins, potatoes with skins and spinach. Foods rich in magnesium include brown rice and avocado. Supplements containing potassium and magnesium may also be used.
Of course the best treatment is prevention. If you are a heavy or daily drinker increase your water intake and avoid other diuretics during the day such as coffee or soda. Waters infused with electrolytes are also helpful.