Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated. Anyone may become dehydrated, but the condition is especially dangerous for young children and older adults. The most common cause of dehydration in young children is severe diarrhea and vomiting. Older adults naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies and may have conditions or take medications that increase the risk of dehydration. This means that even minor illnesses, such as infections affecting the lungs or bladder, can result in dehydration in older adults. Dehydration also can occur in any age group if you don't drink enough water during hot weather especially if you are exercising vigorously. You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment.
SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION-:
Many people, particularly older
adults, don't feel thirsty until they're already dehydrated. That's why it's
important to increase water intake during hot weather or when you're ill.
The signs and symptoms of
dehydration also may differ by age.
Infant or young child
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on
top of skull
- Listlessness or
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent
- Dark-colored urine
CAUSES OF DEHYDRATION-:
occurs for simple reasons: You don't drink enough because you're sick or busy,
or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you're traveling, hiking
Other dehydration causes include:
vomiting- Severe, acute
diarrhea that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently can cause a
tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time. If you
have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals.
- Fever-In general, the higher your fever, the more
dehydrated you may become. The problem worsens if you have a fever in addition
to diarrhea and vomiting.
sweating-You lose water when
you sweat. If you do vigorous activity and don't replace fluids as you go
along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you
sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.
urination- This may be due
to undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. Certain medications, such as diuretics
and some blood pressure medications, also can lead to dehydration, generally
because they cause you to urinate more.
FACTORS OF DEHYDRATION-:
and children- The most likely group
to experience severe diarrhea and vomiting, infants and children are especially
vulnerable to dehydration. Having a higher surface area to volume area, they
also lose a higher proportion of their fluids from a high fever or burns. Young
children often can't tell you that they're thirsty, nor can they get a drink
adults- As you age, your
body's fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced
and your thirst sense becomes less acute. These problems are compounded by
chronic illnesses such as diabetes and dementia, and by the use of certain
medications. Older adults also may have mobility problems that limit their
ability to obtain water for themselves.
with chronic illnesses- Having
uncontrolled or untreated diabetes puts you at high risk of dehydration. Kidney
disease also increases your risk, as do medications that increase urination.
Even having a cold or sore throat makes you more susceptible to dehydration
because you're less likely to feel like eating or drinking when you're sick.
who work or exercise outside- When it's hot and humid, your risk of dehydration and heat
illness increases. That's because when the air is humid, sweat can't evaporate
and cool you as quickly as it normally does, and this can lead to an increased
body temperature and the need for more fluids.
COMPLICATIONS OF DEHYDATION-:
Dehydration can lead
to serious complications, including:
- Heat injury-If you don't drink enough fluids when you're exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a head injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
- Urinary and kidney problems- Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure.DEHYDRATION
- Seizures. Electrolytes such as potassium and sodium help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
- Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock)- This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
PREVENTIONS OF DEHYDRATION-:
dehydration, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods high in water such as fruits
and vegetables. Letting thirst be your guide is an adequate daily guideline for
most healthy people. People may need to take in more fluids if they are
experiencing conditions such as:
or diarrhea- If your child is
vomiting or has diarrhea, start giving extra water or an oral rehydration
solution at the first signs of illness. Don't wait until dehydration occurs.
exercise- In general, it's
best to start hydrating the day before strenuous exercise. Producing lots of
clear, dilute urine is a good indication that you're well-hydrated. During the
activity, replenish fluids at regular intervals and continue drinking water or
other fluids after you're finished.
or cold weather- You need to
drink additional water in hot or humid weather to help lower your body
temperature and to replace what you lose through sweating. You may also need
extra water in cold weather to combat moisture loss from dry air, particularly
at higher altitudes
Illness- Older adults most
commonly become dehydrated during minor illnesses such as influenza, bronchitis
or bladder infections. Make sure to drink extra fluids when you're not feeling