We lose water and other liquids every day in our urine, sweat, tears, and stool. Generally, we replenish all these fluids by drinking water, juices and eating foods rich in water content. Our body also performs the fluid replacement process efficiently and carefully.
To keep healthy fluid balance, we try to restock our body with certain minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. However, dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluids and essential salts than it takes in.
Causes of Dehydration
There are several reasons of dehydration. Not drinking enough water is prime reason of dehydration. Sometimes people are too busy in their work that they don’t remember drinking water the whole day.
Illness is another reason of dehydration. Therefore, it is vital to increase your water intake when you are sick or during hot weather.
You may also feel dehydrated while travelling or camping in a place where there is lack access to safe drinking water. Other causes of dehydration include:
It causes an extreme loss of water and electrolytes in a very short time. If you vomit along with diarrhoea, you will lose more fluids.
The sickness also causes dehydration. And the condition becomes worse if you have a fever along with vomiting and diarrhoea.
People who exercise outside or who stay most of their time outdoors in the hot and humid weather are at risk of dehydration. That is because humid temperature increases the amount of sweat and your need for more fluids.
People who have uncontrolled or untreated diabetes are at high risk of dehydration. Medications of these diseases cause the patient to urinate more and thus lead to dehydration.
Signs of Dehydration in Babies and Young Children
The signs & symptoms of dehydration differ by age. Infants and young children may show following warning signs:
- Dry mouth and cracked lips
- Dry tongue
- No water or tears while crying
- Yellowish or dark-coloured urine
- Sunken cheeks, eyes and soft portion of head
- No urine for more than 3 hours
Children and babies are more likely to become dehydrated because of having smaller fluid reserves. On the other hand, teens and older children can manage fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Children also lose fluid by diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever.
Symptoms of Dehydration in the Adults and Elderly:
Many people, especially older people, don’t feel the need of water until they experience the following dehydration symptoms:
- Tired or weary
- Extreme thirst
As you grow older, the fluid reservoir in your body becomes smaller and thus your ability to conserve water is lessened. These problems are complicated by health problems such as dementia and diabetes, and by using certain drugs. In addition, mobility issues also limit the ability of older people to acquire and retain water for themselves.
If the patient experiences fever higher than 103 F, difficulty breathing, fainting, seizures, or abdominal pain, take the person to the hospital’s emergency at the earliest.