What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition, which can be defined as an excessive loss of body fluids, mainly water. It usually occurs when more fluids are lost than taken in, and the body does not have enough fluids and water to carry out its functions.

Is Dehydration dangerous?

Dehydration, if severe can be a serious problem. Prolonged activity without the intake of water can cause dehydration. Diarrhea, hypertension, alcohol and diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis and yellow fever can also lead to Dehydration. Malnutrition can make Dehydration severe.

What are the different types of Dehydration?

There are three main types of Dehydration based of fluid loss:

Hypotonic: it is basically the loss of electrolytes - mainly sodium.

Hypertonic: this is when there is loss of water.

Isotonic: when both water as well as of electrolytes are insufficient.

These three types of Dehydration are classified according to the severity of the condition:

Mild: When the body has lost about 2% of its total fluid, it results in mild Dehydration.

Moderate: When the body has lost about 5% of its total fluid, it results in moderate Dehydration.

Severe: When the body has lost about 10% of its total fluid, it results in severe Dehydration. Severe Dehydration is considered as an emergency.

What are the causes of Dehydration?

There are many reasons due to which a person can get dehydrated. Some of the major reasons are, vomiting, high fever, increased and frequent urination, excessive sweating, and extreme diarrhoea. Another reason may be inadequate intake of water during humid weather or during a workout or some physical activity.

What are the symptoms of Dehydration?

The symptoms of mild to moderate Dehydration are:

  • Sticky and Dry mouth

  • Extreme thirst

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Weakening of the muscles

  • Few or no tears when crying

  • Tiredness and Sleepiness (People are likely to be less active than usual)

The symptoms of severe Dehydration, which is considered as a medical emergency, are:

  • Extreme Thirst

  • Lack of Sweating

  • Sunken Eyes

  • Very Dry mouth

  • Irritation

  • Confusion

  • Low blood pressure

  • Rapid heart beat

  • High Fever

  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in children and infants

  • In extreme cases, Dehydration results in delirium or unconsciousness

Who should I consult for dehydration?

For Dehydration, one should consult a General Physician.

How can a person avoid getting dehydrated?

The plain and simple solution is to drink water at frequent intervals. During humid weather, there is excessive loss of body fluids through the lungs or by sweat. So rehydration drinks should be taken to avoid getting dehydrated. Caffeine and aerated drinks should be avoided as they increase the urine output and makes us dehydrate at a faster rate. Alcohol should also be avoided as it increases the rate of Dehydration. If working out, water intake should be increased. Oral rehydration solution is also a remedy to stay hydrated. To increase the water level in the body, consumption of watermelon and fresh lime with water will increase the water level in the body.  During prolonged physical activity, water consumption should be more as it cleanses the system and flushes out the toxins, lubricates the joints and aids the digestive system.

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