It’s a guy thing not to drink water.
Look around. Most of those Kleen Kanteen-toting and sipping fanatics are women.
Sure, there are the jocks and the grizzled old guys whose kids gave them
insulated water bottles for Father’s Day and they feel guilty if they don’t use
them. But otherwise it’s mostly women who drink water.
My dad, my husband, most of my guy
pals go ugh! when I offer a little water with lemon slices floating prettily on
top to rehydrate after a few glasses of wine on the summer deck. Maybe I’ll
have to rethink the lemon slices, because getting dehydrated and over-heated in
summer aren’t exactly jokes.
When you sweat a lot you lose the
salts (electrolytes) and water content in the interstitial spaces, the
fluid-filled spaces that bathe the body’s cells. That’s why they put a pinch of
salt in your lime drink in countries like Thailand and, if you get severely
dehydrated, you need commercial powdered electrolytes or sports drinks to
replace those salts along with the fluids.
People who are severely dehydrated
also have decreased blood volume and low blood pressure, which will cause shock
when severe. Heat stroke happens when your body’s cooling system can’t
dissipate excess heat and eventually fails. Your
temperature hits over 40 C (104 degrees F)
you can suffer permanent brain damage or even die.
On the other end of the spectrum,
over-doing the water thing can result in really painful heat cramps in your
muscles — I know, I’ve had ’em. They happen when you drink so much water, it
dilutes your body salts. Lots of manual labourers like roofers and steel
workers suffer heat cramps, as do mountain climbers and skiers whose many
layers of clothing can make them unaware of how much they’re sweating.
But when your body does become
dehydrated and needs water, it responds in an amazing and automatic way (this
Merck Manual of Medical Information
). The volume of blood circulating through the
cardiovascular system decreases due to the lack of water. This decreased blood
volume is perceived by receptors in the your neck arteries. They respond by
sending impulses through the nerves to the pituitary gland, which is located at
the base of the brain.
It produces an antidiuretic hormone
that signals the kidneys to concentrate urine and retain more water. At the
same time, the brain senses thirst, giving you a mighty urge to drink. And no,
not beer or coffee
— both will
dehydrate you further.