How Does Dehydration Affect Bone Health and Muscles?

Posted On Jul 25, 2022

Dr. Rajeev Verma

HOD and consultant - Joint Replacement and Orthopaedics

Dwarka - Delhi

Dehydration treatments in Delhi

Everyone is talking about the importance of staying hydrated so jump on the bandwagon this time as it’s vital for us to stay healthy. Our bodies are made up of 60% of water, and from the cells to organs; every part of our body needs water to function to its optimum potential. However, what surprises many is how severely dehydration affects our bone health and muscles. Let's find out what our orthopaedic doctors in Delhi have to say about muscle hydration. 

The Importance of Water

60% of our body is water, which performs vital functions like eliminating waste, regulating body temperature, keeping the heart, skin and gut health, lubricating the body, and enabling the absorption of nutrients. Dehydration is when we lose more fluids than we consume, and our body does not retain enough water to perform its functions. 

What Happens When We Are Dehydrated?

Dehydration can have visual and long-term impacts on our bodies. Young children and senior citizens are impacted more than others by dehydration. Both senior citizens and children are prone to diarrhoea and vomiting. Senior citizens have an increased risk of lung and bladder infections with dehydration as the body's water percentage reduces in old age. 

While drinking fluids can reverse the signs of moderate dehydration, severe cases might need immediate medical care. Visit Manipal Hospitals today, if seeking treatment for dehydration in Delhi

Impact of Dehydration on Bones

While our bones look dry, a healthy person's bones contain approximately 31% water. Bones have a soft, spongy tissue at their centre, called bone marrow. Bone marrow is of two types- yellow and red. Red bone marrow is the repository of blood stem cells that form red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In contrast, yellow bone marrow is primarily fat and contains stem cells forming cartilage and bone cells. 

Our bones need fluids to create and constantly reproduce these cells. Fluids are also responsible for strengthening the cells with minerals. Water enables the absorption of nutrients and dehydration results in a lack of calcium and vitamin D in our bones. The lack of calcium results in Osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become fragile and breakable.

Water also eliminates toxins and waste from our bodies. Dehydration builds toxins in the bones, leading to inflammation and deterioration of the bone mass. 

Impact of Dehydration on Muscles

When dehydrated, our body stores water for the most vital organs, like the heart and lungs, while restricting the supply to other organs, like our muscles.

As a result, muscles start to cramp without water and electrolytes. Electrolytes are vital minerals like sodium, calcium, and potassium essential for body functions.   

Impact of Dehydration on Joints

Our joint cartilage is up to 80% water. A dense lubricating fluid called the synovial fluid between our joints provides a cushion to avoid the collision of bones. All our body's joints depend upon this fluid to offer protection, absorb shocks and to provide cushioning for smooth movement. 

Dehydration results in the lesser synovial fluid between our knee, hip, shoulder and other joints. Less fluid results in pain and other long-term movement problems.

Diagnosis of Dehydration

The simplest way to identify early symptoms of dehydration is the thirsty feeling. In some instances, a laboratory test helps to diagnose dehydration. Some tests are:

  • Kidney test for raised creatinine

  • Kidney test to identify an increase in blood urea nitrogen

  • Insufficient urine sodium concentration

  • Increased plasma serum osmolality in the blood plasma

How to Overcome Dehydration?

A severe case of dehydration needs urgent medical attention. However, consuming an appropriate amount of water is the primary precaution and treatment for dehydration. Following are some practical ways to identify the amount of water we need:

  • Bodily Signs

A dry mouth, headache, or thirsty feelings are signs that the body needs water.

  • Snacking vs. Drinking

Often, people opt for snacking when the body gives the symptoms of thirst. Sip a glass of water and wait to identify whether it is hunger or thirst.

  • Urine Color

Transparent or bright yellow urine symbolises a well-hydrated body. In contrast, a dehydrated body results in dark yellow urine colour. 

  • Urine Amount

Regular peeing is a symbol of hydration. We need to drink more water if we are not peeing much.

When To Reach Out To An Expert?

Severe symptoms of dehydration need immediate medical attention. Dehydration leads to numerous severe and life-threatening illnesses like heat stroke, kidney failure and kidney stones. Reach out to the experts at the orthopaedic department at Manipal Hospitals for immediate help if you feel any symptoms mentioned above or one of the following:

  • 103 degrees or higher body temperature

  • Persistent twitching of muscles

  • Dehydrated skin

  • Extreme nausea

  • A rapid increase in pulse

  • Unable to sweat

  • Unable to focus or speak clearly

  • Dizziness or fainting

At Manipal Hospitals, Delhi, we diagnose and treat the symptoms of dehydration with utmost care and precision. Book an appointment with our orthopaedic expert in Delhi, for lifestyle recommendations and preventive care tips regarding bone and muscle health.  

White Coat World is an initiative by Manipal Hospitals for weekly medical information that helps digest medical facts, jargon and news. Check out more resources and reading materials in our blogs section, or call us to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Rajeev Verma

HOD And Consultant - Joint Replacement And Orthopaedics

Manipal Hospital, Delhi

Call Us