Essentials of Dehydration and How to Treat It
We lose water continuously as we perspire, urinate, breathe, and defecate, however, we can only drink fluids to replenish the lost water. The feeling of thirst is the body’s mechanism of informing us to restore the ideal balance. Most instances of dehydration can be addressed by consuming more fluids; however, extreme cases need medical attention without any delay.
What Causes Dehydration
The most common cause of dehydration is the failure to drink the adequate amount of water or excessive loss of water or even a combination of both. It may happen that sometimes we do not have access to potable water, lack the time to drink or even the strength. Certain other conditions like diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, frequent urination due to diabetes, alcohol or medications or even burns may cause the body to lose too much water.
Whom Can Dehydration Affect More?
Even though everyone can experience dehydration if they lose more fluids than they can replace, the people who are at higher risk include those living in higher altitudes and those engaged in extreme sports. Dehydration may also occur in persons suffering from chronic illnesses like disorders of the adrenal gland, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, kidney disease, etc. Infants, the young and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration. See author choice for a more comprehensive list of probable causes of dehydration.
What Are the Typical Symptoms of Dehydration?
The initial symptoms of dehydration include a feeling of intense thirst, reduction in urine and sweat production, and change in the urine color to dark yellow. When the dehydration progresses, you can experience a very dry mouth and eyes, muscle weakness, lethargy, a feeling of dizziness and headache. Severe dehydration is symptomized by the lack of perspiration, shriveled and dry skin, sunken eyes, increased pulse rate, low blood pressure, fever, confusion and even unconsciousness.
How Is Dehydration Diagnosed?
Typically physicians take note of symptoms like rapid pulse rate, disorientation, dry skin and eyes, low blood pressure and corroborate them with blood tests to check the level of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Urine tests are likely to reveal a much darker color than usual and a high concentration of ketones. To check for dehydration in infants, doctors usually check the skull for a sunken soft spot, characteristics of muscle tone and level of sweating.
What Are the Recommended Treatments for Dehydration?
The only way dehydration can be addressed is by arranging to replenish the level of fluids in the body. This is usually done by prescribing a diet of water, ice candy, clear broths or electrolytic drinks. Patients are advised to avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, or sodas as they have a dehydrating effect. In the case of severe dehydration, intravenous saline injections may be administered. Doctors may prescribe medicines to treat conditions of fever, diarrhea or vomiting to aid hydration.
Dehydration can be easily avoided by taking care to consume enough fluids whenever the body signals a deficiency. Apart from consuming water and beverages, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables should generally be sufficient to prevent dehydration. Those engaged in activities in extreme conditions should make fluid replenishment a priority. The elderly and children should be advised to take more care in maintaining adequate hydration.
Author bio: Bill Williams is a fitness trainer who writes regularly for fitness magazines. His author choice of best ways of preventing dehydration is essential reading for all sportspersons and fitness freaks.