Dehydration is a condition wherein the person’s body lacks sufficient water and electrolytes. This condition can have some serious consequences on the health of an individual. Not taking timely measures to rehydrate the body can even give rise to some life-threatening conditions. Dehydration takes place when your body loses more water than what you consume. The output of water can take place while urinating, sweating, or breathing. To make sure that the water lost due to these activities is replaced, drinking sufficient quantity of water throughout the day is important.
Factors that Contribute to Dehydration
The symptoms of dehydration can appear due to many factors. Not drinking sufficient water during hot weather is one of the main reasons for dehydration. You may also lose fluids because of over-exercising, which causes your body to overheat. Digestive problems can also make you prone to dehydration. For example, vomiting that takes place due to food poising, flu, over-eating, or any other reason could result in loss of fluids and cause dehydration.
Diarrhea is another common cause of dehydration. It can be caused due to drinking contaminated water or eating foods that are unhygienic. A person suffering from diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids after every visit to the bathroom.
Exercising and physical activities like outdoor sports also cause dehydration in many people. Any physical activity that makes a person sweat too much can result in dehydration. Drinking too much alcohol is a lesser known cause of dehydration. Elderly people often suffer from dehydration due to the prescription drugs that they take for certain conditions.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
The signs and symptoms of dehydration are easy to identify. Common symptoms of dehydration in teenagers and adults include dark urine with a strong odor, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, dry skin, headache, low blood pressure, extreme thirst, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and inability to pass urine. Elderly people who are affected by dehydration often experience pitting edema as a symptom. This causes swelling because of fluid retention in tissues of the body. Applying pressure to the swollen region can cause a dent in the skin that might last for quite some time. Cramps in the muscles might also indicate dehydration in some people. Sometimes, heart palpitation might also indicate scarcity of water in the body.
It is very important for an adult to be able to identify the symptoms of dehydration in infants and children, as they might not be able to do so by themselves. Dry mouth and tongue, fatigue, irritability, high fever, etc. are a few common signs of dehydration in children.
Preventing and Treating Dehydration
You should take measures to maintain the required levels of water and electrolytes in the body. Having small sips of water after every hour or so, throughout the day, will help to prevent dehydration. Electrolyte drinks can also be helpful in preventing as well as overcoming dehydration. People suffering from vomiting or diarrhea should increase their fluid intake to prevent dehydration.
Although dehydration can be easily prevented and cured, failing to take timely measure to replenish the lost water in your body can have some serious health consequences. You should be extra careful of dehydration during illnesses or while performing strenuous physical activities. Children and elderly people need to take special care to ensure that they don’t get dehydrated.