Dangers of Dehydration
Dehydration is a condition caused by loss of excess fluid from the body. This happens when you lose more fluids than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough fluids to function properly.
Causes of dehydration
Dehydration is mainly caused by inadequate hydration to replenish lost fluids. Dehydration can be influenced by the climate, how much you exercise (especially in hot weather) and your diet.
There are several other causes of dehydration,
- Excessive sweating after fever, exercise or carrying out heavy work
- Alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking too much alcohol leads to fluid loss through urine
- Gastroenteritis, where fluid is lost through prolonged diarrhoea and vomiting
- Diabetes, where kidneys will try to eliminate excess blood glucose level through urine
Symptoms of dehydration
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Less urination and sweating
- Dark-colored urine
- Dry skin
In infants and young children
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Crying without tears
- No wet diapers for 3 hours or more
- High fever
- Sunken eyes
Who is at risk for dehydration?
Dehydration poses a higher risk for certain people:
- Older adults : As they get older, some people lose their sensation of thirst and don’t get enough fluid.
- Young children and infants who are especially susceptible to vomiting or diarrhoea
- People with chronic conditions like diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or kidney problems that make them to urinate or sweat more frequently.
- People who work outdoors or exercise in the hot weather
Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including:
- Loss of strength and stamina
- Urinary tract infections
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Heat injuries like heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke
- Kidney problems, such as kidney failure and kidney stones
- Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock).
Diagnosis of dehydration
- Blood tests to examine your electrolyte levels, particularly potassium and sodium. The body contains minerals known as electrolytes that are charged electrically. They perform a variety of significant tasks, one of which is assisting with fluid equilibrium in your body.
- Blood tests to evaluate your kidney health and function
- Urine tests to check determine the cause and extent of dehydration
Treatments for dehydration
Replace lost fluids and electrolytes as part of dehydration treatment. For mild cases, you may need to drink lots of water. Sports drinks may be helpful if you have lost electrolytes. There are oral rehydration solutions available for children without a prescription. Severe dehydration may be treated in a hospital with intravenous (IV) fluids with salt.
The key to prevent dehydration is making sure that you drink enough fluids:
- Sip on enough water every day. Since everyone has different needs, consult your doctor to figure out how much liquid you should drink every day.
- Sports drinks can be beneficial if you are exercising in the sun and sweating a lot because you are losing a lot of minerals.
- Avoid drinking sugary and caffeinated beverages
- Drink more fluids in hot weather or when you’re sick.