7 Textbook Signs You Could Be Dehydrated

A lack of H2O affects almost every part of the bod.

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Kale and broccoli may get all the praise for being health powerhouses, but water is possibly the most essential/underappreciated ingredient for your health. Your body may be a complex web of organs, but over half of your weight is actually water, and it’s up to you to keep replenishing fluids so your body can do its job.

Here’s what happens when you skimp on agua. Your bodily fluids, like blood, pee, and sweat, have important functions, and a lack of water makes them less effective. Blood, for example, contains water and carries oxygen to cells around the body. Without enough water, it may not be able to deliver as much oxygen to your cells—and that affects organs all around the body, including the brain. A 2012 study in Nutrition Review found that participants performed less well with mild dehydration in tasks that measured their visual perception and short-term memory.

In other words, being dehydrated goes beyond just feeling thirsty or parched: Your whole body can feel the consequences.

Here are early signs you may be dehydrated.

  1. Feeling thirsty

  2. Going several hours without needing to pee

  3. Having dark yellow-colored urine (here are other things your pee color can tell you)

  4. Headaches (which could also be due to one of these common headache triggers)

  5. Muscle cramps

  6. Dry skin

  7. Rapid breathing or dizziness

Once you feel #7, it’s time to see a doctor. Quick heartbeats or palpitations, heavy breathing, lightheadedness, and confusion are all signals of severe dehydration and you may need emergency medical care.

If it’s not an emergency situation, your go-to solutions are to drink more water or eat more water-rich foods, like watermelon, cucumber, soups, and lettuce.

And don’t wait until your pee is darker to take action if you suspect you could be dehydrated: Be proactive and stay hydrated on the reg. Here’s how much water you should actually be drinking each day.