What does water do for your body? It keeps the body's temperature down. There is a lot of internal heat generated through body functions. To keep your body from getting too hot, water acts as a natural coolant and lowers your body temperature. Water is necessary for the body to obtain oxygen, other than that from the lungs. And it acts as a pathway, transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues. Water acts as a moisturizer for the skin and a lubricant for joints and muscles. It also helps in waste management, washing away excess potassium, sodium and urea.
From the benefits of water, it is easy to see how its loss can cause serious harm. The lack of water in the body, or low water content levels, is called dehydration. You can either drink too little or no water at all, to get dehydrated. Your water levels also fall, if your body keeps losing water and cannot replenish it in time. One way how water is lost slowly, is through sweating. Vomiting and diarrhea are particularly dangerous ways to lose water, as a significant amount is lost at an alarming rate.
Urine Color and Dehydration
Just like the fuel gauge in a car warns of less fuel, urine is a warning indicator of dehydration. In fact, one key sign that you are dehydrated, is little or no urine production. This is obvious, less water content logically leads to less urine being produced. But the color of your urine and the levels of water in your body are very closely linked. Urine is characteristically light yellow in color. But as you get dehydrated, the color darkens. This is because, due to less water, the urine is highly concentrated with toxins and chemicals. Hence, the change in color. The darker the urine color, the more severe is your dehydration. Dark yellow, amber or brownish colored urine is a sign of serious dehydration. Urine color serves as a good indicator for other health conditions as well.
Chart of Dehydration and Urine Color
Below is a tabular representation of urine color meanings.
|A light, colorless urine shows you are over-hydrated. Water levels are good. Don't drink any more water.|
|Normal water levels. You are hydrated.|
|If your urine color falls between this color range, you are dehydrated. Time to drink some water.|
|Eating beets can cause such a urine color, but the effect is temporary. If this color persists in your urine, please see a doctor.|
|Too many uric acid crystals in the urine. Vitamin B nutrients have been lost in largess.|
|Dyes due to certain medications are causing this color. Copper or phenol poisoning is another possible cause.|
If ignored, dehydration can have severe consequences on your health. It can cause seizures, fainting spells, dizziness and even death, in extreme cases. Plus less water in your body, means permanent fatigue and tiredness. The following individuals should maintain proper levels of water daily:
- The elderly
- Those who are taking antibiotics and powerful medicines
- Those who are outdoors for long periods of time or live in humid or hot climates
- If one is ill and vomits or has diarrhea
- Young children and infants
- Those on a high protein diet
- Those on a high fiber diet
- Sportsmen and those with highly active lifestyles