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Experts: Majority Of Americans Are Dehydrated

BOSTON (CBS) - We all know we need extra water in the hot summer months or when we exercise. But experts say if you look around you, the majority of adults you see are probably dehydrated.

Dr. Craig Gillard, urologist and chief of surgery at Jordan Hospital says dehydration is one of the easiest conditions to reverse, but it is also one of the most commonly overlooked. "Anywhere from 60% - 70% [of adults] in the United States is dehydrated daily," he said.

Sometimes referred to as chronic dehydration, the condition can contribute to a host of medical issues including: headache, constipation and fatigue.

When you are thirsty, it's too late, you are already dehydrated. So how do you know when your body needs water? Registered dietician Mary Grace Webb says one sign is that you feel hungry all the time. "When [someone] starts to get a little weak or they have a headache, they may need to eat something, but most often they need to drink," she said.

Water is necessary for our bodies to absorb vitamins. It also helps to detoxify the liver and kidneys and can help you avoid things like kidney stones, according to Dr. Gillard. "The solution to pollution is dilution," he said.

How much water we need depends on our activity levels as well as our diet. "We have a tendency, particularly in the United States to drink a lot of substances that are mildly dehydrating, for example coffee and tea," Webb explained.

Medications like over-the-counter allergy drugs can also make you dehydrated.

Most doctors recommend between 6 and 10, 8 ounce glasses a day.

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