We all know that it’s vitally important to drink eight (approximately — all bodies are different) glasses of water a day and doing so is easier said than done. But if you’re not drinking enough water on a regular basis, quite a few concerning things can happen to your body when you’re constantly dehydrated.

This loss of fluid can happen rapidly, like when you sweat while exercising, or it can happen gradually when you don’t take in enough water over a long period of time. Chronic dehydration sets in when your body is constantly lacking necessary fluids. Your body will actually become used to this dehydrated state, as Rodale Wellness claims, and you’ll lose sensitivity to water deprivation, and therefore you won’t feel as thirsty even though your body needs more water.

Chronic dehydration is not as severe as extreme dehydration and won’t cause you to faint or spike a fever. But long-lasting dehydration can poorly affect your quality of life. So pour yourself a tall glass of water and continue reading to see if you need to up your H2O intake.

Consistant fatigue.
When we lose fluids through sweat, frequent urination, diarrhea or vomiting, they need to be replaced so our blood stays thin and fluid. When fluids are not replaced, the blood becomes thick and the heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen to major organs.

Dry skin.
One of the most effective ways to tell if you’re suffering from chronic dehydration is to take a look at your skin. If it’s flaky, cracked, dull and dry all the time, you most likely need to start drinking more water.

Constipation.
Just like the rest of our body, our poop is mainly composed of water. When your stool moves to the colon, reabsorption of water from the stool takes place. But when the body is dehydrated, the colon absorbs more water than it has to, diminishing the bulk of the stools stored in the colon. That means it takes a lot longer for the stool to move through the colon.

Muscle cramps.
Exercising and sweating without replacing lost fluids is a recipe for disaster. As mentioned earlier, the blood has to take fluids from other parts of the body when water isn’t introduced back into the system. This makes the blood thicker and the body less likely to function correctly.

Infrequent urination and kidney stones.
The less water you drink, the less you pee. The less you pee, the more likely you are to give yourself kidney stones. A kidney stones is a buildup of minerals in the urine, caused by dehydration and accelerated by caffeine and sodium intake.

Kidney stones are painful to pass and can only be prevented by changing one’s diet. Dr. David Ludlow, a urological surgeon at Urology Specialists of Nevada, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that drinking the average 8 cups of water per day is the best way to combat kidney stones.

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