Dehydration - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Dehydration - Overview
Dehydration is a condition in which the body tends to use more fluid as compared to what it takes in. In such a condition, the body does not have enough water in order to carry out the normal everyday functions and therefore, when these fluids are replaced, it leads to a condition known as dehydration.
Some of the major causes of dehydration are excessive exercising, diarrhoea, fever or excessive sweating. Also, decrease in the amount of the water that you drink every day can lead to dehydration. However, this condition can be easily reversed by increasing the intake of the water.
In some of the cases when this escalates to a severe case,then medical intervention may be needed as well. The best approach is to make sure that you should be keeping a tab on the amount of water that you are taking in every day.
Causes of Dehydration:
As mentioned earlier, the major cause of dehydration is the lack of the water in the body and the inability of the body to replace the lost amount of water.
Some of the basic reasons for the occurrence of Dehydration are as follows:
Diarrhea and Vomiting: in some of the severe and acute cases of diarrhea, there is an excessive loss of water as well as electrolytes from the body of the affected person. With the excessive loss of water in a small time, the body loses the essential minerals and fluids. Children are the most prone to suffer from dehydration. This can be caused due to a viral or a bacterial infection or from bowel disorders.
Fever: Generally, it has been found that if a person is suffering from a high fever, then the chances of dehydration increase greatly. Fever accompanied with diarrhea can lead to the loss of the essential fluids from the body.
Excessive Sweating: Sweating is one of the basic ways via which a person loses fluids from the body. If you are taking in part in exercises and are not replacing your body with the water that has been lost, you are at a great risk of being dehydrated. Due to the humidity and hotness, a person tends to lose fluids as well.
Increase in the Urination: Diabetes is one of the primal factors behind increased urination. However, due to some medications, such as diuretics, dehydration can occur in people due to excessive urination and sweating.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:
The signs of moderate dehydration are as follows:
- Dryness of the mouth
- Tiredness and loss of activeness
- Increased thirst
- Decrease in the urine content
- Headache and dry skin
In case of severe dehydration, the signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Increased thirst
- Dryness of the mouth, skin as well as the mucous membranes
- Sinking of the eyes
- No urination
- Shrivelling of the skin
- Lowering of the blood pressure
- The rapidness of heartbeat and breathing
It is recommended to see a doctor when a person develops the above mentioned symptoms. Also, if a person is not able to keep down the fluids and has been vomiting with fever for the last 24 hours, then immediate medical attention is needed.
Diagnosis of Dehydration:
It is very easy to diagnose Dehydration in patients. On the basis of the signs and the symptoms along with the urine content, it is very easy to find out if the person is suffering from Dehydration.
However, in order to find out definitely about the condition of the patient, some of the tests are conducted as follows:
Blood Tests: in this, the blood sample of the affected person is drawn in order to look for the level of the electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. These help the doctors to determine how well the kidneys of the person are working.
Urinalysis: In this, tests are done on the sample of the urine in order to check if the person is suffering from dehydration. In some of the cases, additional tests are also conducted in order to check the person for the signs of diabetes as related to the liver and kidney problems.
Treatment and Drugs for Dehydration:
The best option for the treatment of Dehydration is to make sure that the amount of lost fluid is replaced in the body. However, the treatment options differ for different age groups.
ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution): Using an ORS solution such as Pedialyte can be the best option for the treatment of Dehydration in children. ORS contains basic water, electrolytes and salts that are needed by the body. These are available in all the drug stores. Specific amounts of ORS can be prescribed to the children based on their age. This is prescribed till the urine of the child reaches back to the normal color. A spoonful of the solution is given every 30 minutes.
Breast Feeding: It is recommended not to stop the breastfeeding, while the child is still suffering from dehydration. Lactose present in the mother’s milk is the best solution in order to fight against diarrhea.
For adults, the best option is to drink more water and other liquids. Also, the ingestion of fruit juices as well as carbonated drinks can prove to worsen the condition.
In case of children suffering from severe dehydration, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention before the condition worsens. Also, you should be receiving salts and fluids with the help of the intravenous injections as they are able to provide the person with a much higher amount of nutrients and water as compared to the oral solution.