For how long can you survive without water?

Water forms the basis of life in every living being. 60% of the total content in our bodies is water. The most important connective tissue in the human body, blood, which is responsible for the transport of nutrients is primarily made up of water. 

The function of blood is drastically impacted with low water intake since blood with thick consistency is unable to transport nutrients efficiently. 

The joints, bones, muscles, skin, and all other organs need water to keep functioning optimally. Hence, it is imperative to keep topping up the amount of water in our bodies to keep our vital systems running smoothly.

On average, man can survive without food for 1-2 months, but not for more than approximately        3 days without water.

However, the effects of dehydration start manifesting themselves very early on. It takes a toll on both the mental and physical health of an individual. With a lack of water in the system, one starts becoming irate and sick. They lose clarity of mind and the attention span decreases. One is unable to focus on the task at hand. 

Constipation and fatigue set in since the digestive system is unable to churn food properly. In the absence of enough water, the joints rub against each other vigorously thereby causing joint aches.  

Perspiration, one of the major bodily functions to keep the body temperature in check, is also completely dependent on enough water intake. Without adequate water, our body cannot flush our toxins from our gut, and neither can it aid in smooth digestion even if you’re eating enough food. 

What happens when your body undergoes severe dehydration?

Our bodies are designed by nature in such a way that we lose water with every second of life. be it in the form of sweat, urine, feces, or exhaling air, we are constantly losing water. And to stay atop ourselves in the best form of health, we must keep replenishing this amount of water in our system. 

If the loss of water in our body is more than the water intake, it starts creating highly negative impacts on our system. Our skin health starts going for a toss. Our mind loses functionality. Our digestive system is unable to keep up with the lack of water in the system. And our blood becomes incapable of carrying out its function optimally. 

All these negative consequences cumulate in effect and result in serious health hazards that gradually become impossible to undo. This condition is known as severe dehydration. 

On average, an adult human body requires about 2-3 liters of water to function at its best capacity, but sometimes people make a lot of hydration mistakes. Anything below that will cause you to lose more water than your intake thereby resulting in severe dehydration in the long run. 

What happens when you stop drinking water completely?

Our body is in constant need of a continuous supply of fresh, potable water at regular intervals all through the day. When that fails to happen, our body starts turning to stored reserves of fluid to meet this water demand.

Many food items like fruits also are good sources of water; for example, watermelon, bananas, and beverages. However, these don’t give you enough water to meet the requirements of the body. 

The individual starts becoming extremely thirsty by this point. Thirst is one of the last resorts by which your body signals to you that it needs water. If one ignores this sign as well, the body gives up and starts looking for other means to gain water. Hence, you might stop feeling thirsty. 

Our body then uses up stored reserves of hydration since it is made up of 60% water. Soon, these reserves start drying up too. The individual starts becoming restless. Physical health drawbacks like fatigue, lethargy, constipation, headaches start setting in.

Kidneys need water to flush out toxins from the system. Without enough water, the kidneys use more energy which, in turn, results in the wear and tear of kidney tissues. Eventually, the kidneys and other vital organs like the liver, pancreas, intestines, heart, and lungs also cease to function. 

Fruits, vegetables, and other food items contribute to about 20% of your total water intake. However, it is almost impossible to keep consuming food without drinking any water since water is imperative for digestion, metabolism, assimilation, and excretion. 

Can you reverse the effects of severe dehydration? If yes, how?

Unchecked dehydration does lead to death. However, if one can gain access to water before succumbing to the effects of dehydration, the negative consequences of it can be reversed in time. 

The first step is oral intake of water and electrolytes to make up for the loss of fluids in the system. But one needs to be careful to not consume a lot of water all at once since it can cause multiple organ failures. Oral rehydration solutions, intravenous fluid hydration solutions, coconut water, fruit juices, and other fluids work best to replenish the lost amount of water in our systems. 

If you’re dealing with the effects of severe dehydration and are working towards reversing them, the best way is to make it a priority. Your body will not bounce back to normal immediately, but will gradually start getting back on track with regular water intake. 

Summing it up:

Water is vital and imperative for survival just like we need air for breathing. In the absence of water, our vital bodily systems start collapsing. This results in multiple organ failures eventually causing one to succumb to the effects of severe dehydration in due course of time. 

While different people have different thresholds of living without water and food, the basic needs of all remain the same. Also, the primary ways in which a human body responds to chronic dehydration and hunger remain the same. 

Surviving without water for more than 3 days is almost impossible. And is a feat one must never care to attempt!