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Dehydration Overview

The brains of dehydrated adults show signs of increased neuronal activation when performing cognitively engaging tasks, indicating that their brains are working harder than normal to complete the task. In healthy young adults, this additional effort typically manifests as fatigue and changes in mood, but in populations with less cognitive reserve, such as the elderly, this can lead to a decline in cognitive performance. Performance on complex cognitive tasks that require high levels of brain power is most likely to decline due to the strain of dehydration. A meta-analysis of 33 studies including a total of 413 participants found that dehydration corresponding to more than a 2% reduction in body mass (e.g. 3 lbs. of fluid loss in a 150 lb. person) was associated with significant impairments on attention, executive function, and motor coordination. A study assessing the cognitive function and hydration status of 1,091 people over age 65 found that dehydrated individuals were at higher risk for dementia,

while individuals with dementia were at higher risk for dehydration.

Additional studies indicate that dehydration can accelerate cognitive decline in people with dementia. Decreased water levels in cells can cause proteins to misfold and prevent the clearance of these toxic proteins, causing them to build up in the brain.

Dehydrated cells are associated with brain dysfunction and causes mental issues like dementia.

Diet and exercise are also important components to remaining hydrated.

Some of the earliest signs of dehydration include being thirsty, feeling dizzy, developing nausea, and headaches.
When someone starts to develop heat cramps, it may be an early indicator of the progressive effects of dehydration.
Dehydration affects mood and tolerance to

Stay hydrated. Drink at least a gallon of water every day.

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