The excessive loss of substantial fluids from the human body, compared to daily water intake, is stated as the meaning of Dehydration. Water remains an imperative component of the human body since it amounts to 75% of its body weight. The said percentile of water is stored inside cells, between cells and within blood vessels in the human structure.
Nonetheless, the fluids present in the body are subject to constant release through breathing, sweating and urination. In order to avoid Dehydration effects, it is mandatory to compensate for the loss of fluids with significant daily water intake.
Causes of Dehydration
Limited consumption or enormous loss of water or both are the prime causes of dehydration. Following is a list of other major dehydration causes:
1. Diarrhea: One of the most common reasons behind dehydration is the considerable volume of water lost with every bowel movement during Diarrhea.
2. Vomiting: While vomiting, human body tends to lose huge amount of body fluids which are difficult to restore with intake of water as it may lead to further vomiting. Thus, vomiting can be termed as one of the major reasons for dehydration.
3. Sweating: Our body loses considerable quantity of fluids through sweating especially during summer heat. Besides the weather, excessive physical activity leads to release of water in form of sweating that may further lead to dehydration.
4. Diabetes: An upsurge in the quantity of blood glucose prompts increased urination, this causes an imbalance of water level in the body. Thereby, becomes one of the many reasons for dehydration.
5. Frequent Urination: One suffers repeated urination cycles because of high intake of alcohol & medications such as diuretics, antihistamines, anti-psychotics, and blood pressure drugs. This frequency promotes excessive fluid loss and leads to dehydration.
6. Skin Burns: Summer Heat may cause skin burns to people with sensitive skin. As skin is the protective layer of the body, a burnt portion of skin cannot manage to prevent the loss of fluids. This inaction by the protective layer may be another one of the reasons for dehydration.
Dehydration Symptoms: Are You Dehydrated?
Few or no tears while crying
Nausea and Vomiting
Decreased Urine Output
Consultation: Whom To Consult?
Considering the aforementioned symptoms and causes of dehydration, a general physician may be visited to seek advice.
Tests and Investigations: How do you test for Dehydration?
The medical probe of dehydration is inclusive of the following:
- Perusing the mental status of the patient to make sure whether he/she is awake & alert or not
- Checking Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate of the patient
- Blood tests to check Kidney function and sodium, potassium and, electrolyte levels
- Urine test
Treatment Methods Available:
The one and only treatment modulation that ministers to dehydration is restoring the body with sufficient fluids.
Therefore, ingesting water and other liquids like clear broths, ice pops, or sports drinks help cure dehydration.
For instant relief, one must consider the intake of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS).
However, intravenous fluids may be provided to some patients to replenish hydration.
Paramedical help must be granted to treat the consequent conditions: Fever, Diarrhea or Vomiting.
Dehydration Prevention and Precautions:
Patients of dehydration are advised to consume frequent but small amounts of clear fluids i.e. water, clear broths, ice pops, or sports drinks, such as Gatorade. It should be noted that the amount of sufficient fluid required to replenish hydration in a patient depends on his/her body weight.
An adult requires 2 to 3 litres of water on a daily basis (How much water should we drink a day).
Patients with the underlying complications would need immediate assistance: Fever, Vomiting and Diarrhea.
Requirements while pursuing treatment of Dehydration:
Dietary: For the first 24 hours, clear fluid is the primary consumable item recommended, ensuring which a patient must be given a balanced and light diet.
The following must be avoided during the course of treatment: milk, caffeinated beverages, fruit juices, gelatin, and sodas.
For patients suffering from Diarrhea and Vomiting, doctor’s advice should be followed.
Physical Activity: Complete rest from physical activity is recommended to patients to surmount dehydration.
Risk of Infection to other family members:
Dehydration does not pose any risk to family members of the patient.
How to prevent dehydration?
As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, such is the case with dehydration as well.
Excessive loss of fluids must be avoided to prevent recurrence of dehydration.
The consequent precautions must be taken into regard:
An upsurge in the intake of fluids and foods with high water content like fruits and vegetables. This intake is highly recommended especially during summer heat and humid days.
While indulging in physical activities like jogging, workouts etc., fluids must be taken on an increased amount.
Special attention should be tended to aged and very small children since they are prone to be dehydrated easily.
Support From Family:
Family’s constant support during any medical condition is paramount. Similarly, a dehydrated individual’s health must be monitored and the patient must be encouraged to consume more water and not miss any medication (if any).
Frequency of urine output, presence of saliva in the mouth and tears while crying are important factors to be observed.
Mahima is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book.