Dehydration is defined as excessive loss of water from body accompanied with disruption of metabolic processes. Dehydration occurs when water intake is considerably less than required and fluid loss is more than fluid intake.
Any person can get dehydrated but small children, aged people and sick persons are at a risk of developing dehydration. Enough fluid intake is the remedial measure that one can take to prevent dehydration.
Following are some of the common causes of dehydration:
- The most common cause is that you must not be drinking enough water.
- Gastroenteritis: Due to persistent vomiting and diarrhea, body loses water.
- Low intake of fluids during hot weather and exercise.
- Fever: When one is suffering from high fever, his body gets dehydrated.
- Profuse perspiration during vigorous activity or hot weather may lead to dehydration if water is not replenished.
- Uncontrolled or undetected diabetes may lead to dehydration due to increased frequency of urination.
- Certain medications such as diuretics, medicines given for hypertension and some psychiatric medicines can cause water depletion leading to dehydration.
- Infants and young children have low body weight but more turnover of water and electrolytes. They are also more susceptible to diarrhea. Hence children are likely to suffer from dehydration.
- Due to aging, body loses its ability to conserve water. Thirst sense decreases. Body cannot adapt to temperature changes easily. If this is associated with chronic ailments or loneliness or neglect resulting in less water intake, one can suffer from dehydration.
- People living at high altitudes are likely to suffer from dehydration due to increased frequency of urination and rapid breathing.
Symptoms Of Dehydration
Some of the common symptoms of dehydration include:
- Increased thirst
- Dryness of mouth
- Feeling of exhaustion prevails
- Feels sleepy
- Decreased urine output
- Dry skin
- Patient feels dizzy
- Sunken eyes
- Heart rate and breathing rate will increase
In severe cases intensity of all the above symptoms will increase.
Complications Of Dehydration
- Sunstroke: If one is exposed to heat for a long period, one may develop sunstroke.
- Cerebral oedema
- Electrolyte imbalance will lead to seizures and patient may become unconscious.
- Due to dehydration, blood volume decreases resulting in low blood pressure and insufficient oxygen supply leading to hypovolemic shock.
- Kidney failure
- Coma and death
Natural Remedies For Dehydration
- Avoid prolonged exposure to heat.
- Drink sufficient water at regular intervals.
- Those suffering from diarrhea must treat it immediately and control water loss. Take sips of water every few minutes to prevent dehydration. If necessary, add little sugar and salt to water. Electrolyte solution can be taken with doctor’s advice.
- Avoid alcohol
- Continue to breastfeed baby even if baby is sick. Consult your doctor if necessary.
- Avoid soda, caffeinated drinks which may aggravate dehydration.
- Severe cases of dehydration need hospitalization. Intravenous fluids are administered. Vital parameters are closely monitored.
- Avoid vigorous activity. Drink water before, during and after exercise. Also keep in mind that drinking water in excess can cause fatal problems.