Most of last summer, I was experiencing ringing in my ears. When it started to occur more frequently, it triggered memories of how my ears use to ring as a child. Back then, I would plug my ears with my fingers for about a minute to stop the sound. But now when I tried that old trick, the ringing remained.

My ringing prompted me to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist, aka ear doctor. After a series of hearing tests, the doc said my hearing was just fine. What? I occasionally find myself asking others to repeat themselves as I didn’t catch what they just said. What about the ear ringing? I couldn’t imagine that, too! He gave me a script to help lessen the noise within my ears and off I went feeling a little disappointed I wasn’t diagnosed.

Late in the summer, during a hot day in Florida, the ringing had become a bit unbearable. I was at an attraction in Disney World when I called the otolaryngologist. I hadn’t been taken the medication (I don’t like taken pills) and needed to know what I could do in a pinch while out-of-town. I chatted with one of the nurses who I informed the ringing was especially worse after I finish a run. She asked me if I stay well hydrated, for if I don’t, it can cause ringing in the ears. Bingo!

The human body is 60 to 70% water. When a person doesn’t drink enough water, it can have negative effects on the body and the way it operates, like ear ringing. Not enough water is also the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. It can cause low blood pressure, heighten joint pain and trigger a rapid heart rate. Not enough fluids can also instigate a gain of excess body fat, poor muscle tone and a decreased ability to digest food.

A person may not notice if he or she is mildly to moderately dehydrated, but there are several red flags are tall-tell signs. Symptoms include, dry mouth, headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, sunken eyes, muscle weakness or a dark yellow or amber colored urine.

Left untreated, dehydration can become more severe and opens a door to dangerous health complications, such as heatstroke, seizures, hypovolemic shock, cerebral edema (brain swelling), kidney failure, coma and even death.

The benefits of staying hydrated are plentiful … moisturizes your skin and air in your lungs, cleanses organs, removes toxins, helps maintain muscle tone, regulates body temperature, protects joints and is the adhesive that bonds cell architecture. Water also regulates body temperature, maintains your equilibrium and helps the liver break down and release more fat.

There are some added bonuses, too. Researchers have found drinking 5 glasses a day lessens the risk of developing breast cancer by 79%, bladder cancer by 50% and colon cancer by 45%. Six glasses of water a day can raise a resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily, enough to lose an extra five pounds in a year with little effort. Drinking 8-10 glasses can significantly reduce joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

So grab some water and drink up!

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.