Water plays a vital role in the overall functioning of our body. It helps our organs to operate properly, joints to stay lubricated, provides nutrients to cells, eliminates the body’s waste, and much more. However, despite its benefits, have you ever wondered how long your body can function optimally without water? How long can you live without water?
Well, if you are curious about the same, keep reading. In this article, we will explore how water deficiency can affect our body and the four stages it goes through during the water-fast period.
How Long Can You Live Without Water?
In general, it is known that a normal human being can only survive for 3 days to one week without water.
However, this is not a definite answer, and the exact number of days can vary from person to person as numerous factors determine how long an individual can live without water.
For instance 1944, two scientists survived for about 3-4 days without water. On the other hand, a study conducted in 2009 states that one can survive for 1-3 weeks without consuming food and water.
Another great example is Andreas Mihavecz, an 18-year-old Austrian bricklayer who lived in a cell for about 18 days without water. He didn’t do it intentionally but was locked in a cell, and officers on duty completely forgot about him.
Here are some of the most important factors that determine how long an individual can live without water:
- Age – Children and older adults are at a higher risk when lacking water than other age groups. They are easily affected by dehydration and are prone to experience health issues.
- Weight – People with obesity are more sensitive to water loss and can experience heat-related health issues when not drinking enough water.
- Environment – If you live in a hot environment, you cannot survive longer without water. While on the other hand, cool weather will increase your ability to tackle the water loss in your body.
- Physical Activity – Indulging in an intense or longer period of exercise also puts you at a higher risk of fast dehydration. Because during exercise, your body tends to experience sweating and excess heat.
- Your Health Condition – If you have any health issues like uncontrolled diabetes, fever, or other disease, you will probably experience the side effects of not drinking enough water very soon.
- Type Of Food You Consume – Your food intake also plays a crucial role in your body’s overall hydration. Thus, it also determines how long can you live without water. If you consume foods high in water content, you may manage to go longer without water as you indirectly consume fluid, which is hydrating your body.
What Happens To Your Body If You Don’t Drink Water?
More than half of our body consists of water, which helps in its optimal functioning. If you try to restrict water intake, you are inclined to have numerous issues in your body.
Here are the stages that your body will go through during the period of dehydration.
The 1st stage is obvious – Thirst. In this stage, your body will experience water loss, which can result in a loss of 2 percent of body weight.
As there’s no water intake, your body will try its best to keep all the leftover fluid in the body. It will cause your kidneys to transfer less water to the bladder, resulting in dark urine and a shrinking cell size. Your blood will become thicker, and your heart rate will increase to maintain oxygen levels. You may also experience a rise in body temperature due to less sweating.
In stage two, there’s a high likelihood that you will experience fainting due to low blood pressure. You may also experience mood changes. You will barely get an urge to urinate. Your body temperature will continue rising and reach a level where it can’t bear it anymore.
While reaching the 3rd stage, you would have lost around seven percent of body weight. Your internal organs will begin damaging as the blood flow has been slowed down, and our body needs a lack of oxygen and nutrients. Your cognitive skills will also take a hit, leading to problems like short-term memory.
Now, if you do not break your fast from water in the third stage, you will likely experience serious consequences like death. The blood vessels will get hardened due to dehydration, which may lead to a heart attack. The rising body temperature may cause liver failure, which is known to be life-threatening.
Effects Of Not Drinking Enough Water?
People who do not drink enough water daily are inclined to experience various health issues. Here’s how not drinking enough water can affect your body:
- Dehydration – As you restrict water intake, your body naturally gets dehydrated. Due to that, organs like kidney, skin, heart, etc., stops working properly.
- Cognitive Impairment – When the water level is too low in your body, brain cells do not work properly, which leads to various cognitive problems like short-term memory, attention, visual tracking, etc. It will decrease your overall productivity and may also negatively impact your relationships.
- Heart Disease – Lack of water also increases the risk of problems in the heart valves.
- Joint Pains – Alliance Physical Therapy Partners states that lack of water causes synovial fluid to lose its thickness. This causes the body’s joints to struggle against each other, which ultimately causes pain.
These were some of the major health issues one may experience during dehydration. Some other problems may occur, for example, weakness, swollen feet, dry mouth, red skin, loss of appetite, constipation, etc.
So, that was all about how long can you live without water? A general rule of thumb is that a human can survive for between three days to one week. However, the exact answer depends from person to person as everyone’s body reacts differently.
You will likely go through the four stages mentioned above, which begin with normal thirst and lead to severe problems like organ damage. To avoid such severe consequences, always ensure to fulfill your daily water needs and help your body operate properly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1.Can you go 40 days without water?
Ans: No. Usually, a human can only last for three days without water. However, some other factors, like how much water their body requires and how it utilizes it, and the environment also play an important role.
Q2.What is the longest someone has gone without water?
Ans: Andreas Mihavecz. He is an 18-year-old man who lived about 18 days without water.
Q3.Can you survive on 1 Litre of water a day?
Ans: How much water one needs per day actually can vary. However, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, a male needs about 3.7 litres of water per day. On the other hand, a female needs about 2.7 litres of water a day.
Q4.How long can a person survive without water?
Ans: The exact duration varies depending on factors like age, health, and climate. Generally, a person can survive for about 3 to 5 days without water.
Q5.What happens to the body when it’s deprived of water?
Ans: Dehydration sets in, leading to symptoms like dizziness, confusion, rapid heart rate, and eventually organ failure. It’s crucial to replenish fluids promptly.