Do you often feel tired, drowsy or wearied down? Do you suffer from a throbbing pain taking over your head? Has your body been screaming help and your muscles begging you to slow down? If you have found yourself at these crossroads, did it ever cross your mind that these symptoms might be a mere case of lack of hydration?

Staying hydrated is an essential component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and depriving our bodies of water can adversely affect the accurate functioning of our bodily functions.

While staying hydrated is important for everyone, age, environment, physical activities, and conditions such as pregnancy are among some of the factors that also impact on the water needs of the body. All these factors become even more crucial when we put our bodies to fast during Ramazan.

With age, the body water content of the human body decreases and the kidneys which regulate water levels in our body also become less effective increasing water loss. The elderly also tend to see a reduction in the thirst sensation that puts them at even a greater disadvantage and a lowered appetite means they eat less, hence gaining less water from food.

Besides that the elderly also face limitations such as reduced capacity to swallow, less mobility and in the case of illnesses, such as incontinence, their water output is further increased.

This diminished intake and increased loss of water puts the elderly at a greater risk of dehydration and they should closely monitor their water levels to counteract this. Leaving a bottle of water always within their reach to serve as a reminder for them is the best way forward.

However, during Ramazan it is essential to tailor this approach to smoothly fit into our fasting schedules. Sipping water throughout after Iftar till Sehr is one way.

Even for adults playing sports or engaging in exercise can lead to a greater risk of dehydration. Proper hydration is vital for the optimal operation of the muscles during intense physical activity, as the water moves essential nutrients around the body, as well as flushing the metabolic waste produced in the exercise.

This is especially so when doing high intensity exercises for an hour or more and when there is humidity or high heat as the body will sweat more to stay at its normal internal temperature. Dehydration also has the effect of straining the body which leads to the increased likelihood of injuries.

Keeping yourself hydrated throughout a physical activity helps to both regulate body temperature and replace the lost fluids. So, it would be a good idea to maybe keep a bottle of water handy the next time you go for a jog or head to the gym. But make sure to reschedule such activities until after Iftar, this Ramazan.

And Ramazan falling during summers also means there is an increased water loss due to the high heat. With the lack of replenishment due to fasting, dehydration can set in. Without enough water in the body, this runs the risk of causing other ailments such as heatstroke.

In pregnant women, it is easier to become dehydrated as they now must, essentially, be drinking for twoand the additional heat generated by the baby means they sweat more. Another major cause of dehydration during pregnancy is the result of morning sickness. Nausea, vomiting and frequent urination all lead to much higher water loss than normal.

So, pregnant women might not be drinking enough water while having an increased water loss. Furthermore, the risk is not just to the mother but even more to baby. That's why pregnant women should take any signs of dizziness or thirst quite seriously.

Staying adequately hydrated contributes not only to the support of physical functions, it also helps retain normal brain functions such as alertness, concentration and attention. These can affect decision-making, lower your productivity and possibly lead to accidents in labour intensive occupations.

To sustain a good water balance, it is imperative to drink water or eat fruit frequently throughout the day.Even just a single glass of water can often help offset the water loss that takes place during your everyday life.

Which becomes even more relevant in Ramadan when most of the time we have sugary or carbonated drinks with our Iftar. So, not only do we substitute them for water but we also tend to overconsume the sugary drinks due to the increased thirst.

Keep in mind, proper hydration is important for maintaining the regular function of your body. So, remind yourself and your loved ones to drink plenty of water throughout the day, in Ramazan, from Iftar till Sehr, especially when Ramazan comes during the hot summer days of the scorching sun.