Dec 14, 2017

Thirsty for more

As we approach the middle of December, everywhere really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas… and don’t we know it.  The social calendar is bursting at the seams, Christmas parties are a twice weekly occurrence and the shopping bill has doubled with the addition of festive food and party drinks.  And, although we’re all more than happy to oblige with this short-lived state of craziness, it can work up a thirst.  Between the late nights, rich food and excessive alcohol, the party lifestyle will take its toll. So it’s important to keep yourself hydrated.

Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that it’s literally running dry and its water content is getting low.  Your body needs a good fluid balance in order to function well and, if you haven’t been drinking enough of the right fluids, it will be the first to tell you.  Generally, the problem isn’t a major one and the feeling of thirst is short-lived; simply having something to drink will be enough to quench it. 

It’s fair to say, however, that there are external influences, such as Christmas partying, hot weather, doing exercise and feeling unwell that can encourage a bigger or more regular thirst.  But setting these factors aside, feeling excessively thirsty a lot of the time should be monitored as it can be a sign of an underlying health problem.

Now we’re going to get technical…

Thirst isn’t just a result of indulging in the festivities, it can be named as Polydipsia.  This is the term that refers to an excessive thirst meaning that it is likely to be more prevalent than normal and continues even after you have had a drink.  There is nothing more satisfying than a glass of ice cold water when you’re feeling dehydrated, but the novelty can wear off and ongoing thirst is certainly a sign that all is not well inside your body.

Feeling thirsty can be caused by high blood sugar levels and it is one of the top three symptoms of type 2 diabetes, along with frequent or increased urination.  As your body becomes dehydrated, you will naturally drink more.  The more you drink, the more you urinate and so the cycle continues.  To put this into a measurable excess, you should seek medical advice if you have an ongoing and unexplained thirst, regardless of how much you drink and if you are regularly passing more than 5 litres of urine a day.

So, what is it about diabetes that causes the excessive thirst in the first place?  The simple answer is that the excessive sugar in your body builds up in your blood and causes your kidneys to work harder than they should.  It is their job to deal with removing the excess sugar, but if they can’t keep up with the volume, it is expelled as part of your urine.  This process means that fluids are drained from your tissues causing more toilet trips and leaving you feeling dehydrated.  Naturally you need to quench these thirsts, not realising you’re feeding the cycle.   

Furthermore, a strong thirst will inevitably make you tired and irritable, as well as leaving you with a headache, dry mouth and eyes, dizziness, tiredness and dark coloured urine.  And left untreated, severe dehydration can have serious side effects including low blood pressure, a weak pulse or rapid heart rate and feeling confused.

So, feeling thirsty is not always as simple as it sounds and it’s easy to see how it can be brushed aside and put down to lifestyle. 

Your body needs fluid and, for most people, regularly drinking water will meet this need. But if your body is not responding, and you are constantly refilling your cup, it could be a sign of a more serious health problem such as diabetes. Best to get it checked out!

If you are at risk from type 2 diabetes and would like to know more about the signs and symptoms to look out for, then register for a free account at today where you can also view hints and tips on energy-boosting recipes and exercise routines…great for at home or in the workplace.

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