Drinking water is essential for humans to stay alive. Drinking water helps to keep our bodies hydrated. Proper hydration is necessary for one’s survival. Our body continuously excretes water through sweat, urination, breathing, etc. Our body needs to replenish those lost fluids. The human body needs to consume a significant amount of water each day to function correctly. One can’t live long without consuming a necessary amount of water. It’s possible to survive without water for a few days. Without drinking water, your body will become susceptible to the effects of dehydration sooner or later, depending on certain factors. In this article, we will help you determine how long you can live without water.
Dehydration and its risks long can you live without water
In medical terms, dehydration means a lack of necessary water in the body. When a person doesn’t drink the required amount of water that his body needs, the water balance in his body starts to drop, and then it causes dehydration.
A BMC Public Health study states that water makes up more than 60% of a person’s body weight. Losing more than 3 percent of this weight through water loss can lead to dehydration.
The symptoms of dehydration can appear quicker than we think. If the body starts to lose the necessary amount of water, it will send signals to the brain and respond that the person drinking less water will notice. It’s essential to listen to these signals and drink enough water to fulfill the body’s need for water.
If a person ignores these signs and doesn’t drink enough water to compensate for water loss in his body, the brain will send signals to conserve water by producing less urine. But then again, this will slow the kidneys’ function, which will lead to many health problems later on.
Dehydration can cause many notable changes in the body, such as:
- Lack of energy
- Feeling sluggish
- Experiencing dizziness and confusion
- Heatstroke and heat cramps
- Stiff joints that cause problems in proper movement
- High and unregulated body temperature
- Damage of brain tissues and swelling in the brain
- High blood pressure
- Painful seizures
Drinking water regularly assists us in removing toxins from the cells and keeping them healthy. But when a person’s body rapidly starts to lose water, the cells in his body begin to shrink as water leaves them. A person going through dehydration might also go into shock and become unresponsive because of it.
Signs of dehydration long can you live without water
Most people are only familiar with dehydration’s minor symptoms, like having a parched mouth or feeling thirsty. Feeling thirstier than usual is the first sign of dehydration. When a person is producing less urine, it is also a sign of dehydration. Because during dehydration, the body has less urine so that it can conserve water. Several headaches, dizziness, a rise in blood pressure, and high body temperature are also dehydration signs.
Foods in dehydration
You don’t stay hydrated just by drinking water and other beverages. Consuming food also contributes to 20% of your total water intake per day.
If you are suffering from dehydration, then consuming more water isn’t enough. You need to include water-rich foods and vegetables in your daily intake to restore the water balance in your body and prevent further dehydration problems. In countries like Greece and South Korea, people include many of these water-rich foods in their daily food intake to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration.
Fruits and vegetables that contain a high amount of water are cantaloupes, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, orange, lemon, spinach, etc.
Other foods containing a high amount of water are yogurt, cottage cheese, pasta, shrimp, salmon, chicken breast, etc.
Consuming foods containing a high amount of water will help you to prevent dehydration. However, depending on just the intake of water-rich foods or only drinking adequate water won’t sustain your health in the long term.
If you suffer from dehydration, you should avoid consuming beverages like coffee containing caffeine and alcohol because they consume a lot of water from your body.
How long can you live without water?
A regular person can survive without food for about three weeks. But without water, he would only last for three to four days. The maximum an individual can survive without drinking water seems to be a week or so.
You can spend your time outdoors at an average temperature, without drinking water for about 100 hours. If the weather is more relaxed than average, you will be OK for a little longer. If the temperature is higher than usual and exposed to direct sunlight, your chances of going further without drinking water are less.
According to a study in Archive Fur Criminology, without food and water, you can’t survive more than 8 to 21 days. People living the last days of their lives or close to their deathbed can live only a few days or weeks without food and water.
Your body needs water more than it needs food to survive. People who engage in hunger strikes with access to water can live a few months or so.
Effects of not drinking enough water
Humans can only survive for a short amount of time without drinking water because they need water to maintain essential body processes. Which are:
- Regulating the body’s temperature through breathing and sweating and keeping it regular.
- Delivering the necessary amount of oxygen throughout the body.
- Breaking down food and aiding digestion.
- Moistening membranes and tissues
- Lubricating the spinal cord and joints for better movement
- Helping the brain to make certain hormones and use them
- Balancing the pH of the body.
- Transporting toxins out of the cells and eliminating the waste products through sweat, urine, and breath.
Without water, the body cannot function properly. Our body will begin to collapse and stop working later on. Some of the effects of not drinking enough water are:
- Blood pressure: Not drinking the necessary amount of water can lead to dehydration. The effects of dehydration take place rapidly. Especially in scorching and humid weather that makes a person sweat more than usual.
The body produces sweat by using water, which helps to lower a person’s body temperature. If we don’t drink the necessary amount of water that the body needs, the body won’t produce sweat. This situation can lead to a dangerous increase in the body’s temperature. The rise of body temperature will put pressure on fluids such as hormones, blood in the body. Later on, it can lead to a drop in blood volume, causing less blood circulation in the body and a severe drop in blood pressure.
Ultimately, this can lead to unconsciousness or death.
- Digestion problems: Not drinking enough water causes the mouth to go dry and produce less saliva. Thus, the food we consume doesn’t break down properly and causes digestion problems. Not drinking enough water causes the digestive system to slow down as well.
- Toxic buildup: Water helps our body to remove the toxins from cells and excrete them through sweat, urine, and breath. Without water, the body becomes unable to do this efficiently and cause toxins to build up. The rise of toxic materials in the body harms the kidneys that remove the toxins from the body. If the kidneys get damaged, the toxins build up increases even further, which can cause other organs in the body to fail and eventually result in death.
Factors on which your survival without water varies
We need to consume a significant amount of water every day to ensure that our body functions properly. If we don’t drink the necessary amount of water every day, it will lead to dehydration. Dehydration refers to not having enough water in your body to function correctly. The human body needs to intake a certain amount of water daily to maintain its proper function. It is because water makes up more than 60 percent of an average adult’s body weight. In the case of children, water makes more than 75 percent of their body weight.
Without drinking water, you can’t survive for too long. But the exact amount of time you live without drinking water varies. It is because our body’s use of water depends on certain factors. They are:
If you live in an environment where the weather is hot and dry, you will sweat more, decreasing your body’s water level faster than usual and leading to more water consumption. You need to drink more water to keep yourself dehydrated.
If you do intense exercise regularly, then you need to drink more water. It is because during exercise your body excretes a lot of water by sweat. You need to consume more water to maintain the water balance in your body.
The necessary amount of water consumption varies from age to age. Older people and toddlers need to drink more than adults to maintain their body and organ’s proper function.
If you have a fever or health problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, your body will rapidly lose water. You have to drink more water to compensate for the loss of water in your body. You may need to consult with your health expert and take an oral solution to restore your body’s water balance.
The need for water consumption is different for men and women. Men need to drink more water than women for their body to function correctly and to stay healthy.
Suppose you add fruits such as orange, lemon, vegetables like spinach, which are water-rich foods and consist of 100% water, to your regular food intake. In that case, you may not need to worry about maintaining water balance in your body.
But if your daily food intake contains a lot of dry food like grain or bread, beverages like coffee contain caffeine, alcohol, etc. Then you need to drink more water. Because the followings mentioned above consume a lot of water in your body, and if you don’t drink a significant amount of water to compensate for the loss of fluids in your body, you will suffer from dehydration.
These factors contribute a lot to the way your body uses water. Based on these factors, you need to drink a significant amount of water to avoid dehydration and keep your body hydrated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of long can you live without water
How long can anyone live without drinking water?
Answer: A person can live three to four days maximum without drinking a single drop of water.
What kind of foods should I take to prevent dehydration besides drinking water?
Answer: Besides drinking water, add foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, shrimp, salmon, chicken breast, fruits such as orange, lemon, strawberries, and vegetables such as spinach, lettuce to your daily food intake you can prevent dehydration.
What kind of foods should I avoid to prevent dehydration?
Answer: You should avoid dry foods like grains, beverages like coffee that contain caffeine and alcohol, etc., to prevent dehydration.
- How much water should I drink a day?
Answer: The daily water consumption for men should be about 3.7 liters or 15.5 cups of water a day, and for women, it should be about 2.7 liters or 11.5 cups of water a day.
It is hard to live a single day without drinking water. We hope the information in this article helped you to determine how long you can live without water.