What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Dehydration And How To Prevent It?

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Dehydration stages and what to do
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While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.

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The human body is made up of about 75% water, and it needs fluids to function properly. Dehydration means that your body is losing more fluids than it’s taking in. It is normal to lose fluids every day through bodily functions such as breathing, urinating, or sweating. 

You may not be able to adequately replace the fluid you lose because you get busy and forget to drink enough or you don’t realize you’re thirsty. If you lose too much fluid and you don’t replace it, you will get dehydrated. Not treating it can cause serious problems. 

What puts you at risk of dehydration?

The following situations could put you at risk of becoming dehydrated:  

  • Having a fever of 100 degrees or more 
  • Taking certain medication, like a diuretic, that makes you pee more 
  • Staying in the sun too long 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Drinking too much alcohol 
  • Sweating due to exercise

If you lose too much fluid, you need to put back the minerals, sugar and salts your body has lost. Electrolytes are minerals in your body with an electric charge that have many important functions, such as keeping a healthy balance of fluids in your body.  

Drip Hydration, Elevate U, Drip MD, and others offer mobile IV therapy and medical services in the comfort of your own home. The IV hydration in Charlotte NC includes IV fluids and electrolytes formulated for quick hydration that leaves you feeling refreshed and revitalized. 

Who is more at risk of dehydration?

Babies and young children: They most commonly lose fluids through high fevers or diarrhea and vomiting. Babies can’t tell you they feel thirsty or get their own drinks.

Older adults: In the elderly, dehydration can happen without thirst due to changes in the brain. They may also not take in enough fluids due to medical conditions or try to drink less so they don’t have to get up for the toilet as often during the night. 

Individuals with chronic disease: People with high blood pressure or heart problems often take diuretics which make them pee more. Those with kidney disease, adrenal gland disorders, or cystic fibrosis are also at a higher risk of dehydration. 

Athletes: Athletes, especially those who participate in endurance events like marathons or cycling events, can easily become dehydrated. This is especially true during the summer months when they are also losing fluids due to the heat.

People who are ill: When people are ill with a cold or sore throat, they may not want to drink. Certain conditions, such as food poisoning, may also make it difficult to keep fluids down.

Symptoms of dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include: 

  • Thirstiness
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Dark yellow, strong-smelling pee
  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Infrequent urination

Serious complications of dehydration

If you become severely dehydrated, the consequences are more serious. Your eyes become sunken, your pee is a very dark yellow, and your heartbeat and breathing become more rapid. There is a possibility of delirium and unconsciousness. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately. 

If dehydration isn’t treated, it can cause low blood volume with less oxygen reaching the tissues, and this can be life-threatening. Seizures can even occur due to an imbalance of electrolytes. Kidney problems such as urinary tract infections and kidney stones can occur and may eventually result in kidney failure. 

How can you prevent dehydration?

The easiest way to prevent dehydration is to make sure you drink enough fluids throughout the day. Individual needs are different, so it’s best to ask a health care practitioner how much you should be drinking every day.  

Try to drink more if you have a higher risk of dehydration, such as when you have vomiting or diarrhea or have sweated a great deal while exercising. Drink extra fluids if you’re sick. If you find this difficult for any reason, start with frequent small sips and consider drinking warm beverages.

Your urine color is one of the best indicators of your hydration level. If your urine is pale yellow, you are well hydrated. The darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are. You need to drink enough until it becomes pale yellow again. 

The treatment for dehydration is to replace the fluid and electrolytes you have lost. For mild cases, all you may need to do is drink plenty of water and sports drinks to replace the electrolytes you have lost. You can also use oral rehydration solutions. In cases of severe dehydration, intravenous fluids may be necessary. 

While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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