Before answering this question, let me quickly tell you that water is more important for your life than you think it is! Your body uses water to carry out all sorts of daily processes. On a hot day, an adult human body produces 1.5 liters of sweat per hour. The fog we see when we breathe out in Winter is also condensed water. It is actually there in Summers too but is just invisible because in Summers the temperature outside the body is higher than inside, unlike in Winters. Other processes that require water like breaking down of food etc. are being performed by the body all the time, even when you are not doing any physical exercise at all.
So how long can you survive without water? The answer is; not more than THREE DAYS on average.
About 60% of a human body consists of water which is the reason why there can be no human life possible without it hence the search for water on Mars 🙂 It is commonly said that a person can live for 3 days without any water consumption. However, it can vary from person to person because of different factors such as age, height, weight, activity levels and your overall health.
Effects of dehydration
- An average person feels mildly dehydrated in the first ten hours without water.
- After going one day without water the person becomes sluggish.
- On the second day the fatigue kicks in, causing sluggishness to convert into fever and extreme weakness.
- Organs start failing on day 3 which eventually results into death.
This cycle can take up to 4-5 days for some people, depending on the overall health status of a person.
The boy who lived 18 days without water
In 1979, an 18-year-old Austrian boy, named Andreas Mihavecz, was mistakenly left in a holding cell by the police where he lived for 18 days without water. He even made it to the Guinness Book of World Records!
Another record says that in 1944, two Russian scientists experimented, depriving themselves of water for four days respectively and only ate dry food. On the fourth day they stopped because they could not swallow the food anymore. They abandoned the experiment before their condition deteriorated any further.
Water consumption in an average human body
Some examples of the role of water in a human life are;
Factors causing dehydration
A rapid increase in body temperature can cause dehydration. Like exposure to a hot environment or doing some sort of physical activity can drain you out of this essential body fluid. It is very important to replace water that is leaving our body. If it is not replaced it can cause the sweating to stop resulting in the blood volume to fall rapidly which can cause problems like low blood pressure. This condition when the body temperature rises and the blood pressures falls quickly can be fatal in most cases.
A person’s eating habits also play a vital role in watering their body. Someone who consumes water-rich food like fruits, vegetables, juices etc. will need to consume less water to survive while on the other hand, people consuming dry food like bread, meat, grains etc. will need more water consumption to keep the water balance in their bodies at a normal level.
There are some more factors that can cause dehydration. Diarrhea, vomiting and kidney problems are some of the health conditions which may cause severe dehydration. Consuming other fluids can also help keep the body hydrated except ALCOHOL. Alcohol has ethanol in it which can cause the body to urinate even more than it normally does, hence the body loses more fluid than it is consuming.
How your body tells you that you are dehydrated
Human body has a language of its own. It tries to tell you in many different ways when something is wrong. When you notice certain symptoms, just know that you need to drink more water than you are already drinking. These indications can be;
- Not having enough motivation to carry out physical activities
- Feeling sluggish all the time
- Feeling dizziness
- Having heat cramps every now and then
- Continuous fluctuation in body temperature
- Continuous fluctuation in blood pressure
Obviously, consulting your doctor in case of the above symptoms should be the first step you take.
When the water level drops dangerously in the body, the vital organs are filled with blood. The kidneys are the first organs to fail. They stop cleaning out the waste from the blood supply. This way the toxic blood reaches every organ and all the other organs start to fail as well. As water is drained out of the brain cells as well, the brain starts to contract and the tiny blood vessels inside the brain start to burst. Dehydration leading to death is painful and scary. Still it is something that can be avoided just by drinking 8 glasses of water a day!
Actually, here is another article on the benefits of water on your body. Happy reading 🙂