Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
What Causes Dehydration?
The two types of dehydration, chronic dehydration and acute dehydration, can be caused by many things. The most
common are: flu, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, malnutrition, and plain old failure
to replenish liquids lost from sweating and urination (Not drinking enough
water). Many illnesses and diseases can trigger acute dehydration due to the
increased body temperature and sweating that usually occur. This is why your
doctor tells you to drink plenty of fluids when you are ill. Your body uses
fluids to expel toxins as well as to keep your system flexible, lubricated
and running smoothly. Dehydration and blood pressure problems often go hand in hand due to the loss of electrolytes. For a more complete list of causes, visit the Wikipedia
link in the dehydration information section.
The Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration usually begin with thirst and progress to more alarming
manifestations as the need for water becomes more dire. The initial signs and
symptoms of mild dehydration in adults appear when the body has lost about
2% of it's total fluid. These mild dehydration symptoms are often (but not
If the dehydration is allowed to continue unabated, when the total fluid loss
reaches 5% the following effects of dehydration are normally experienced:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiration
- Decreased sweating
- Decreased urination
- Increased body temperature
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle cramps
- Tingling of the limbs
When the body reaches 10% fluid loss emergency help is needed IMMEDIATELY!
10% fluid loss and above is often fatal! Symptoms of severe dehydration
- Muscle spasms
- Racing pulse
- Shriveled skin
- Dim vision
- Painful urination
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest and Abdominal pain
Be aware that these are not the only symptoms of severe dehydration that may manifest in response to dehydration, these are simply the most common. Symptoms of dehydration will
differ from person to person because the body is a complex network of systems
and everyone's body is different. When these systems are disturbed
due to loss of fluids there will be several common symptoms shared by most
bodies, but there may also be unusual or unexpected responses depending on
the particular person in question. Age also plays a part in the manifestation
of symptoms. Signs of dehydration in a child will not be the same as those
experienced by a teenager, adult or in the elderly. Dehydration prevention
is the best treatment for every age group. heatstroke is always around the corner.
Treatment for Dehydration
If dehydration is the removal of water from an object, then the treatment of dehydration to reverse its effects would logically be rehydration.
When a person becomes dehydrated they have also lost electrolytes so it is very important to replenish them along with the water. The type of electrolytes needed for rehydration are sodium and potassium salts usually found in sports drinks like Gatorade and pediatric formulas like Pedialite. Electrolytes are needed for electro-chemical reactions within cells. A lack of electrolytes in the body can interfere with the chemical reactions needed for healthy cell operation and is known as water intoxication. This can become a serious condition and has lead to death in extreme cases.
If a person is showing minor symptoms give them plenty of water and let them drink it very slowly, in small sips. Electrolytes are also important to replace. Electrolytes can be readily had from Gatorade or Pedialite. They are also found in salty foods but eating any food while dehydrated will only dehydrate the body more since fluids are required for digestion. If Gatorade or Pedialite are not available, slowly replenish the body's liquids with water and follow that up after symptoms have subsided with a small salty snack or a very light meal.
If a person is showing some of the more severe symptoms of dehydration as
listed above, call an ambulance immediately. He or she may be past the point
where ingestion of the proper fluids will help; get them medical attention
Prevention of Dehydration
The average person loses between two and three litres of water a day through the breath, sweat, and urine. This number can increase or decrease based on the types of activities that a person engages in. Heavy exercise can cause a body to lose more than 2 litres an hour! To prevent dehydration you simply need to replenish the liquids that are lost throughout the day. Many resources and sites will tell you to drink 8 glasses of water a day, or give you a set number of litres to drink but the honest truth is that every BODY is different and only you will know how much your BODY needs.
Only YOU can know how much water YOU need to be at your best. Thats right,
WATER. Not soda, not juice, not sugar-drinks. Pay attention to your fluid loss
and take special care to replenish it as it is being lost. By the time you
feel thirsty you are already dehydrated - you want to avoid becoming thirsty
in the first place. Pay attention to the color of your urine, dark urine is
usually an indicator that you are dehydrated. Drink more water, especially infants, children and the elderly.
Symptoms of Dehydration Links and Resources - Sponsored
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. The site owner makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy, reliability, completeness, currentness, or timeliness of the content, text or graphics. Links to other sites are provided for information only - they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites which may contain additional information about the symptoms of dehydration or dehydration pictures.
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