Water constitutes 60% of body mass of an adult human being, however, its content changes in different periods of life. In a newborn baby water constitutes around 75%, while in an elderly person only 50% of body mass. The drop in the content of water is related to lean body mass.
Everybody knows that water is important in life processes and its most important functions are:
- building material – water constitutes a structural part of all cells and tissues
- it constitutes the environment for life processes in the organism
- is a perfect solvent for many components
- is essential for proper digestion – enables not only forming bites, but also moving food, which is conducive to the proper activity of digestive enzymes
- regulates body temperature
- enables proper mobility of joints and constitutes a form of protection for internal organs.
The largest water exchange takes place in the kidneys, which are responsible for filtering around 140 l of plasma a day.
The human organism cannot store larger amounts of water, therefore it needs to be provided all the time in order to function properly. Excessively low liquid supply may lead to dehydration, the consequences of which are disorders dangerous to health.
Dehydration at the range of 2-3% of body mass lowers your physical efficiency. Deficits of water at the level of 5-8% of body mass causes the intensification of physical and intellectual inefficiency and with the deficit at the level of 20% we may even die.
Especially infants are prone to liquid deficits, as in their case daily water loss is even 15% of total body mass. Another group especially exposed to higher water loss are elderly people, who do not feel as high thirst as their physiological needs of the organism require. Apart from this, the kidneys of elderly people exhibit lower ability to absorb water and certain mineral ingredients. However, dehydration most often occurs in people suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, fever, infections an certain chronic diseases – in severe cases, hospitalization may be required.