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We all know that staying hydrated is important. And it’s never more important than during summer.
Playing sports, gardening or even just sitting in the sun for a while on a humid day can make you sweat. You’re losing water, and that water must be replaced in order to avoid dehydration.
Your body responds to being hot and sweaty by making you thirsty, sending you a clear message to drink some water to replace those fluids.
But there are other reasons you might feel thirsty, and if it seems like you’re always thirsty, no matter how much you drink, this could be the sign of a more serious problem.
5 illnesses that cause thirst
Never ignore the onset of extreme and unquenchable thirst, especially if it comes along with any other troubling symptoms. It could be due to a more serious condition.
Diabetes. Extreme and constant thirst is often the first sign of diabetes.
When your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or doesn’t use it properly, too much glucose builds up in your body. Glucose in the urine draws in more water, causing you to urinate more frequently. Your body dehydrates, making you thirsty.
Anemia. Anemia means your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, either because too many are being destroyed or lost, or because not enough are being made.
Mild anemia probably won’t make you thirsty, but if it becomes severe, you may find yourself constantly wanting to drink water. You may also feel dizzy and weak, and you may sweat more.
Kidney disease. Damaged kidneys cannot hold on to fluids well, and in order to prevent dehydration, the body prompts you to drink a lot of water.
However, it’s a delicate balance. If you have chronic kidney disease, watch for swelling or an increase in blood pressure, which could indicate that too much water is being retained and placing a strain on your heart.
Thyroid problems. When you produce too little or too much thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism), you can experience anxiety, dry mouth and other symptoms that lead to increased thirst.
Diabetes insipidus. The only things this rare condition has in common with Type 1 or 2 diabetes are its name, that they both make you thirsty and that they make you urinate a lot.
In most people, the kidneys pass about a quart or two of urine a day. Someone with diabetes insipidus can pass as much as 20 quarts of “insipid” urine a day, that is, urine that does not look or smell much like urine since they’re basically just eliminating water.
Other things that can make you thirsty
There are personal lifestyle choices and medications that can also cause excessive thirst.
Smoking. Tobacco can affect how much saliva your body makes. You can end up with a dry mouth and a feeling of thirst all the time. Also, smoking can make your saliva thicker and less like water, so it doesn’t do a very good job of keeping your mouth moist.
A low-carb diet. The ultra-low-carb keto diet can make you thirsty since carbs absorb and hold on to water in the body. Without them, you’ll urinate more often, and feel thirsty more often.
Diuretics. Diuretics, or water pills, are frequently prescribed for high blood pressure as well as congestive heart failure. Diuretics are designed to eliminate excess fluid from the body, which they do quite well. But the result, of course, is that you’re thirsty a lot.
The bottom line: Pay attention to your body
Pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.
If you’re thirsty, don’t ignore it. Have a glass of ice water with lemon, or maybe a glass of iced tea. When you’re no longer thirsty, stop drinking. Just like with your appetite for food, don’t force things.
Also, pay close attention to any other changes in your body that accompany thirst, especially if you’re more thirsty than normal. When in doubt, call your doctor.
And as a bonus, here’s a summer-friendly recipe for a fun thirst-quencher. It’s especially geared to people with kidney disease since it helps quench thirst without drinking too much. Anyone can enjoy it. I know I’ll be trying this healthy, thirst-quenching treat, based on my favorite candy, before the summer is out! Enjoy!
Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!
- Why am I always thirsty? — Web MD
- 10 unexpected reasons why you’re thirsty all the time — prevention.com
- Diabetes insipidus — Web MD
- What to know about diuretics — Healthline.com