How Long Can You Live Without Water?
Water is essential for life and health, requiring regular intake to sustain optimal bodily functions. Loss of water through sweating and urination underscores the need to replenish fluids regularly.
Dehydration, a consequence of insufficient water intake, can occur faster based on factors like physical activity and climate. Hydration is vital for more than just feeling good since water is essential for many bodily functions and life itself. Without water, a person can only live for a few days at most. Adequate hydration is fundamental for overall health and the proper functioning of the body's intricate systems.
Why the time varies
When your body lacks sufficient water to function properly, it is said to be dehydrated. Since water makes up 70% of an adult's body weight and 75% of a child's, you need to drink it every day to keep healthy.
Without water, your survival is limited to a few days. The temperature of your environment (hot or cold), your degree of activity (walking or resting), your age, your health, your gender, your body weight, and your food consumption are some of the variables that affect your survival rate.
These factors affect how much water you use and lose. For example, you need more water if you sweat a lot, have a fever, vomit, or have diarrhea. You also need more water if you exercise.
Some foods and drinks can help you stay hydrated, such as fruits, vegetables, herbal tea, and juice. But some can make you dehydrated, such as coffee, tea, and alcohol.
You will also find that certain foods contain more water than others. Juice and herbal tea are examples of additional liquids that are consumed with water. However, some drinks—like those with alcohol or caffeine—can exacerbate dehydration.
According to a study published in Archiv Fur Kriminologie, you cannot go more than eight to twenty-one days without food and drink. Without food and water, those who are nearing death and have very low energy levels may not survive more than a few days or a few weeks.
Your body needs water far more than it does food. Hunger strikers who have access to water but no food can survive for several months or even longer. To keep fluid levels in the body stable, one British Medical Journal article advises people on hunger strikes to consume 1.5 liters of water each day. To replenish the sodium lost through perspiration, the article also suggests adding a half teaspoon of salt to one's drink each day.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, men and women need different amounts of water every day from both food and drinks for their health. Men need 125 ounces of water, while women need 91 ounces. For those who are in good health, do not exercise much, and reside in a moderate environment, this average suggested intake has been established.
What happens to your body if you don’t drink water?
The amount of water you drink has a profound effect on your body. Based on your feeling of thirst, you probably consume enough water in your body. If you satisfy your thirst when you feel it, you probably consume enough water each day.
Your body will alter its systems if it doesn't get enough water. Without adequate water, your cells will contract. Your body will get a signal from your brain to urinate less. Your kidneys will be involved in this. For them to work correctly, there must be a sufficient intake of water.
Dehydration will strain your kidneys and damage their cells. Your kidneys have to work well to remove toxins from your blood. Your kidneys will stop working if you don't drink enough water. Water shortage will also affect other organs in your body.
Other body functions will also suffer from not having enough water. You need enough water to:
- Keep your body heat stable.
- Maintain the right levels of minerals and salts.
- Lubricate your joints.
- Prevent your brain from swelling.
- Control your blood pressure.
Does food intake affect this?
Water and other drinks are not the only sources of hydration. You get 20 percent of your daily water needs from food.
Eating more fruits and vegetables that have a lot of water can increase your hydration. People in countries like Greece and South Korea eat more of these foods, so they get more water from their food.
- Among the vegetables and fruits that contain the highest water content are: melon, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, and carrots, celery.
- Other foods high in water content include yogurt and cottage cheese. chicken breast, shrimp, salmon, and pasta.
Consuming foods high in water content can help you stay hydrated. However, to maintain your health over time, you still need to drink adequate water.
Side effects and risks of restricted water intake
Numerous negative consequences of dehydration include poor energy, exhaustion, and damage to the body, such as convulsions or muscular spasms, overheating, inflammation, brain spasms, insufficient blood volume renal or other organ failure death.
If you are dehydrated, you should limit how much fluid you consume. It will vary from person to person how best to rehydrate.
Adults may only need to drink water to rehydrate. Small children may need a drink that has salt and water to restore the body's balance. Children may have to drink this solution in very small amounts at first.
You might need to receive intravenous water and salt if you're extremely dehydrated.
The bottom line
Your life depends on having enough water in your body. You can only live for a few days without water.
Usually, your thirst will tell you how much water you need to drink. But remember that you may need more water if you are active, hot, or sick. If you think you are dehydrated, talk to your doctor.