Physical signs of dehydration: The request could not be satisfied
Dehydration – Physiopedia
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Young children, older adults, the ill and chronically ill are especially susceptible. Water is excreted from the body in many different forms: through urine and stool, sweating, and breathing (exhaling CO2). Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after 2% of one’s normal water volume has been lost.
Adequate hydration plays a key role in maintaining:
- Body temperature
- Lymphatic system
- Removal of waste products from the body and cells
- Facilitating ingestion and digestion
- Flushing out the urinary tract, eyes, and other organs
You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. 
There are three main types of dehydration: hypotonic (primarily a loss of electrolytes), hypertonic (primarily loss of water), and isotonic (equal loss of water and electrolytes). The most commonly seen in humans is isotonic. 
Body water is lost through the skin, lungs, kidneys, and GI tract. The loss of body water without sodium causes dehydration.
- Water is lost from the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and kidneys.
- Dehydration results when water losses from the body exceed water replacement.
- It may be caused by failure to replace obligate water losses.
There are several forms of dehydration.
- Isotonic water loss occurs when water and sodium are lost together. Causes of isotonic water loss are vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, burns, intrinsic kidney disease, hyperglycemia, and hypoaldosteronism.
- Hypertonic dehydration occurs when water losses exceed sodium losses. Serum sodium and osmolality will always be elevated in hypertonic dehydration. Excess pure water loss occurs through the skin, lungs, and kidneys. Etiologies are fever, increased respiration, and diabetes insipidus.
- Hypotonic dehydration is mostly caused by diuretics, which cause more sodium loss than water loss. Hypotonic dehydration is characterized by low sodium and osmolality.
The source of water loss relates to the etiologies of dehydration:
- Failure to replace water loss: altered mentation, immobility, impaired thirst mechanism, drug overdose leading to coma
- Excess water loss from the skin: heat, exercise, burns, severe skin diseases
- Excess water loss from the kidney: medications such as diuretics, acute and chronic renal disease, post-obstructive diuresis, salt-wasting tubular disease, Addison disease, hypoaldosteronism, hyperglycemia
- Excess water loss from the GI tract: vomiting, diarrhea, laxatives, gastric suctioning, fistulas
- Intraabdominal losses: pancreatitis, new ascites, peritonitis
- Excess insensible loss: sepsis, medications, hyperthyroidism, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), drugs
- Dehydration is most commonly found in the elderly, infants, people with fever, athletes, people living in high altitudes, and the chronically ill. Children are most affected in the first two years of their life and 2.2 million will die in this year around the world.
- The elderly have an altered sense of thirst perception, changes in body water composition, and a decline in renal function as they age. Dehydration was diagnosed in 6.7% of hospitalized geriatric patients in the year 2007. In 50% of febrile cases, the patients were dehydrated and the mortality rate exceeds 50% in some studies.
- Athletes also have an increased risk for dehydration due to the environment and physical exertion. This CDC web page has information about heat illness including dehydration among high school athletes.
- A study done from 2009-2012 with participants ranging from ages 6-19 years old found that inadequate hydration occurred in 54.5% of participants. Of those participants, it was found that males were at increased risk for dehydration.
- In children, dehydration is at an increased risk compared to other populations due to increased metabolic rate, high incidence of infection leading to vomiting and diarrhoea (gastroenteritis), and increased body surface area compared to mass. The elderly and children have the highest risk for dehydration.
Characteristics/Clinical Presentation[edit | edit source]
Increased thirst, dry mouth, light-headedness, fatigue, impaired mental focus, low urine output, dry skin, inability to produce tears, sunken eyes are the signs of dehydration. 
Increased tiredness, headaches, nausea, and paresthesias are experienced at about 5% to 6% water loss. With 10% to 15% fluid loss, may experience symptoms of muscle cramping, dry and wrinkly skin, beginning of delirium, painful and/or decreased urine output, and decline in eyesight. Losses of water greater than 15% are usually fatal.
When to seek medical attention[edit | edit source]
- Constant or increased vomiting for greater than a 24 hour period
- Diarrhoea greater than two days
- Fever over 101o degrees
- Decreased urine production
A Primary Care Physician can often diagnose dehydration based off of a person’s physical signs and symptoms such as skin turgor, color of urine, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and sunken eyes.
To help confirm a diagnosis of dehydration and to what degree, a blood test and urinalysis may be performed.
Blood test: can check levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and how well one’s kidneys are working.
Urinalysis: can show whether a person is dehydrated and to what degree, using 3 evaluation methods: visual exam, dipstick test, and microscopic exam. The dipstick test looks at acidity or pH, concentration, protein, sugar, ketones, bilirubin, evidence of infection, and blood. The microscopic exam looks at white blood cells, red blood cells, epithelial cells, bacteria or yeasts, casts, or crystals.
Acute Dehydration: Weight loss of >4% of body mass within 7 days
- Calculate the body weight (wt) loss
- Fluid deficit (L) = pre-illness wt – illness wt
- % dehydration = (pre-illnesses wt-illness wt)/pre-illness wt x 100%
Capillary Refill: increased time for capillary bed to refill (>2-3 seconds)
Dehydration can cause serious systemic involvement, especially severe dehydration. Some problems that may occur include heat injury, cerebral oedema, seizures, hypovolemic shock, kidney failure, coma and death.
- Heat injury: Heat injury occurs most often in individuals who exercise vigorously and sweat excessively. The severity of heat injury ranges from mild heat cramps and heat exhaustion to more life-threatening heatstroke.
- Cerebral edema: This condition, also called swelling of the brain, occurs when one is trying to rehydrate. Cerebral oedema occurs when one’s body tries to pull too much water back into its cells causing them to swell and rupture.
- Seizures: Seizures occur when one’s electrolytes, specifically sodium and potassium, are out of balance and send mixed signals between cells. This can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and loss of consciousness.
- Hypovolemic shock: This occurs when a low blood volume causes the person’s blood pressure and amount of oxygen in the body to drop. This is one of the more serious conditions that can come from dehydration. If not treated, it can become life-threatening.
- Urinary and Kidney Dysfunction: Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration may induce Urinary Tract Infections, kidney stones and eventually kidney failure.
- Coma and death: If severe dehydration isn’t treated quickly, it can be fatal.
- The principle differential of dehydration in adults is the loss of body water versus the loss of blood.
- This is important because blood loss should be replaced with blood, while water loss should be replaced with fluid.
- The next point to consider is the differential diagnosis of the cause of dehydration (see Etiology above)
Treatment of dehydration is aimed at rapid fluid replacement as well as identification of the cause of fluid loss. Patients with fluid deficits should be given isotonic fluid boluses tailored to the individual circumstance. Patients with more severe dehydration get larger boluses of isotonic fluid. A more careful approach is needed in elderly patients and patients with heart failure and kidney failure. In these patients, small boluses should be given, followed by frequent reassessment and additional bolus as needed.
- The first goal of treatment of dehydration is to restore circulating volume. The second goal is to find the cause of the dehydration so that it will not recur.
- In patients with normal heart and renal function, liberal fluid may be given to restore volume quickly. In patients with heart failure and renal disease, volume still needs to be replaced, but a more careful approach is indicated. This is best accomplished with small volumes given quickly, followed by immediate reassessment and redosing as needed.
- In severe hyponatremia, rapid correction of volume deficits may cause a sharp rise in the serum sodium that can cause central pontine myelinolysis (CPM). The clinician must assess the risks and benefits of rapid volume repletion versus the risk of CPM. In all cases, the volume status and sodium levels must be monitored closely.
Dehydrated children need extra fluid with the right mix of water and electrolytes. Plain water, milk, soda, juice, and sports drinks don’t have the right balance of water and electrolytes. What fluids to give:
- Breast milk (breast milk contains electrolytes and is the best fluid for breastfeeding babies)
- Oral rehydration solution (a combination of water and electrolytes), after the baby has gone 12 hours without vomiting, then you can give formula; give small sips of fluids every 10 minutes, then larger amounts more often if your child can keep it down.
- If severe dehydration medical personal will give fluids through a vein (by IV)
Physical Therapy Management & Prevention [edit | edit source]
There is no direct physical therapy intervention for dehydration in the severe category; however, prevention and fluid replacement orally is something physical therapists can influence through patient education.
Patients should be educated about the signs and symptoms of dehydration in order to know when they may need to seek help. This is done by proper knowledge of hydration.
Environmental Factors[edit | edit source]
- Being outside on a hot or humid day can cause your body to need more fluids
- It is recommended by the American Heart Association to drink water before being outdoors in the heat. This way you do not have to play catch up with Hydration when strain has already been placed on the heart.
- Fluid intake also needs to be increased in cooler environments.
- Cool temperatures may blunt thirst
- Inhalation of cold, dry air increases warmth and moisture in the lungs which causes water vapor to be exhaled
- Physical Activity in the cold can increase respiratory water losses by 15-45 mL per hour
- Insulated clothing can also increase perspiration, increasing water loss
Hydration and Exercise
Before exercise: Drink 12-20oz of fluid 2 hours leading up to exercise
- <1-hour drink 16-30 oz of water
- 1-3 hours drink 16-30 oz 6-8% CHO, sodium drink per hour of exercise
- >3 hours similar to guidelines for 1-3 hours but increase sodium intake
Avoid caffeine or alcohol in beverages due to their diuretic effects
Avoid hyponatremia which can occur by drinking too much fluid. therefore, diluting sodium
Monitor dehydration with changes in body weight and urine color. Each pound lost during exercise, drink 15-16oz of fluid 
- ↑ 1.01.11.2 Dehydration: Why is it so dangerous? Rehydrate website. 2012. Available at: rehydrate.org/dehydration/index.html (Accessed April 3, 2017)
- ↑ 2.02.12.2 Bunn D, Hooper L, Jimoh FO, Fairweather-Trait SJ. Water-Loss dehydration and aging. Mediterranean Diet and Inflammation in the Elderly. 2013; 10.1016/j.mad.2013.11.009 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047637413001280 (assessed 3 April 2017).
- ↑ 3.03.13.2 MayoClinic. Dehydration. Mayoclinic website. 2014. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561. Accessed March 30, 2017.
- ↑ Dehydration-What is Dehydration?. News-medical website. Available at: http://www.news-medical.net/health/Dehydration-What-is-Dehydration.aspx. Accessed on March 30, 2017.
- ↑ 5.05.15.25.3 Taylor K, Jones EB. Adult Dehydration. InStatPearls [Internet] 2020 Mar 24. StatPearls Publishing.Available from:https://www.statpearls.com/articlelibrary/viewarticle/37754/ (last accessed 18.11.2020)
- ↑ Faes MC MD et al. Dehydration in Geriatrics. Medscape website. 2007 [cited 2013 March 19] Available at:http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/567678
- ↑ Kenney EL, Long MW, Cradock AL, Gortmaker SL. Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012. American Journal of Public Health. 2015;105(8):e113-e118. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302572.
- ↑ Takayesu JK MD. Pediatric Dehydration. Emedicine website. 2011 [cited 2013 March 19]. Available at:http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/801012-overview
- ↑ http://survivalscoop.blogspot.com/2010/08/signs-of-dehydration-why-you-need-water.html
- ↑ 10.010.110.210.310.4 Goodman, C., & Snyder, T. (2013). Differential diagnosis for physical therapists: Screening for referral. (5th edition ed., pp. 171). St. Louis, MO: Saunders.
- ↑ Dehydration-Home Treatment. WebMD Website. Available at http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tc/dehydration-home-treatment#1 (2015)Accesed March 30,2017.
- ↑ Scales K. Use of Hypodermoclysis to Manage Dehydration. Nursing Older People. 2011 [cited 2013 March 15]; 5:16-22. Available from: http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=78597ea0-1b94-40b6-8230-44b518d28ad8%40sessionmgr111&hid=108
- ↑ Urinalysis. Mayo Clinic Web site. 2011. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinalysis/MY00488/DSECTION=results. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- ↑ Dehydration Available from:https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/quick-facts-children-s-health-issues/miscellaneous-disorders-in-infants-and-young-children/dehydration-in-children
- ↑ 15.015.1 Center for Disease Control. Dengue Clinical Case Management E-learning: Hydration Status. https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/training/cme/ccm/Hydration%20Status_F.pdf (assessed 3 April 2017)
- ↑ 20. American Heart Association. Staying Hydrated-Staying Healthy. (2014) Available at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Staying-Hydrated—Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp#.WOWKD5h4ahA Accessed on March 30, 2017
- ↑ Quaglio L. The Dehydration Equation. American Fitness. Winter2017. Available from: SPORTDiscuss with Full Text. Accessed on March 30,2017.
- ↑ Pariser G. Nutrition for Exercise Performance. Powerpoint Presentation Given at Bellarmine University Spring 2016.
Six Signs of Dehydration – 3Dimensional Physical Therapy
I am willing to bet you know two solid facts about hydration:
1. You need to drink water
2. You need to replenish electrolytes.
However, knowing those two facts does not mean that most athletes do it correctly. Being properly hydrated for exercise and competition is key to preventing decreases in strength, endurance, and even injury while playing.
Do you know when you are dehydrated?
Drinking water and electrolytes during exercise help prevent dehydration. What I have found in my years working the sidelines of games and covering practices is that many athletes don’t actually know what the signs of dehydration are; They are also not in tune with what their body feels like when it begins to happen.
Know what your body is going to do when you become dehydrated. This way, you can take the appropriate steps, (i.e. drinking water and electrolytes) to prevent it from happening.
The Six Signs of Dehydration
It is your body telling you that you are becoming dehydrated, but by this time you are already not properly hydrated.
You may be low on fluids if you find that you are more tired than you usually are at that point during a practice or game.
3. Excessive Salt Deposits on Skin
If you find dry white stuff around your face or in your clothes, this is salt. As you exercise an find that you are a heavy salt sweater, this could be an increased risk of dehydration.
4. Muscle Cramping
People usually think that cramping is one of the first signs of dehydration, but your body has already been telling you that you are becoming dehydrated for a while with thirst and fatigue. Some more recent research has begun to show that dehydration may only play a small part in muscle cramping during exercise and that neuromuscular fatigue may be the bigger issue; which may explain why athletes still can cramp when hydrated.
*5. Nausea and lightheadedness
If you are to this point, you have or are coming close to the brink of developing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This is very serious. These are not symptoms you should be playing through, you need to stop to hydrate and cool down.
*6. Pale or sweaty skin
If your skin is pale/cold/clammy and you are excessively sweaty you are progressing towards heat syncope (loss of consciousness) or exhaustion. Your body is starting to take steps to cool itself off anyway it can, and once again you need to stop playing and hydrate/cool down
You don’t want to be dehydrated . . .
These are six easy signs to learn to look and feel to see if you are becoming or are dehydrated. Signs and symptoms get much worse as dehydration progresses. At that time you are in need of medical attention, it usually involves having a thermometer put somewhere you really don’t want one to be….
Check this Out
This infographic was created so that you can easily remember the six signs of dehydration.
*I wanted to include the last two signs because dehydration and heat illness are directly related to each other.
Side Effects: Dehydration | MD Anderson Cancer Center
Do you feel thirstier than usual? Are you experiencing dry lips or
skin? These may be signs of dehydration.
is a common side effect of cancer
treatment. Chemotherapy and
treatment can cause dehydration due to other side effects, like
fevers, vomiting, diarrhea
or excessive urination.
These treatments can increase the need for IV hydration due to
increased fluid needs. Dehydration also can result from exposure to
excessive heat, sweating, not consuming enough fluids, medication side
effects or the cancer itself.
To learn more about dehydration in cancer patients, we spoke with
senior clinical dietitian Debra Ruzensky. Here’s what she had to say.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in.
Our bodies are nearly 60% water, so water is our lifeblood.
Why is staying hydrated important for cancer patients?
Fluids carry nutrients to cells, flush bacteria from the bladder and
Staying hydrated makes treatment side effects less severe and lowers
your chances of missing or delaying cancer treatments. It also means
fewer trips to the emergency room for hydration through an IV.
If it’s not addressed, dehydration can lead to severe complications,
such as seizures, swelling of the brain, kidney failure, shock, coma
and even death.
Since dehydration can stop normal body functions and be quite
dangerous, staying hydrated during treatment is important for
protecting your organs from long-term damage.
What are the signs of dehydration?
There are a few signs that you might be dehydrated. These include:
- feeling thirsty
- experiencing dry mouth, lips, gums, and nostrils
- increased headaches
- decreased energy
- darker urine color
and decreased urination
- decreased skin elasticity
- low blood pressure
- increased body temperature
What should patients do if they have any of these symptoms?
If you experience symptoms of dehydration, contact your care team
immediately to prevent serious complications. If you’re able, increase
your fluid intake a little bit at a time and keep track of what you’re drinking.
What options are there to address dehydration? And how long does it
typically take for these to start working?
Once you’re dehydrated, IV hydration may be needed, especially
during cancer treatment.
IV fluids can take hours to administer. The more dehydrated you are,
the longer it takes for these fluids to work.
If you can drink fluids orally, it’s highly recommended that you do
so throughout the day. This is easier than having to receive hydration
through an IV.
What can cancer patients do to avoid their chances of becoming dehydrated?
Each of us has different fluid needs as our bodies change. For
cancer patients, fluid needs depend on many factors, such as the type
of cancer treatment you’re undergoing, and whether you are dealing
with a fever, diarrhea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal side effects.
Your fluid needs are also affected by the type of cancer you have.
Patients with gastrointestinal cancers, for instance, are prone to
dehydration due to loss of appetite and other stomach issues caused by
It’s important to have a dietitian
calculate your fluid needs for you. MD Anderson patients can request a
referral to one of our clinical dietitians, who can recommend goals
not just for fluids, but also for calories and protein during treatment.
Tracking your fluid intake with a log is a great way to make sure
you are meeting your individual needs so you can reduce your risk of dehydration.
What can cancer patients eat and drink to stay hydrated?
Water is best when it comes to hydrating. If you don’t like to drink
water, flavored waters or waters infused with fruit or vegetables can
make your water taste better.
You can also get some of the fluid you need from other beverages
like milk, sports drinks, tea, coffee, and moist foods like soup,
jello, yogurt, sherbet, and pudding.
Is it possible to become too hydrated?
In rare cases, overhydration or water intoxication can occur. Sodium
and other electrolytes become diluted and dangerously low, causing the
body to shut down.
To avoid overhydration, space out your fluid intake throughout the
day. Try not to drink a lot of fluids in a short time.
What’s your advice for caregivers supporting cancer patients facing dehydration?
Have a variety of fluid sources on hand. A patient’s preferences and
taste often change during treatment.
Encourage fluid intake throughout the day. Patients sometimes need a
And remember, keep yourself hydrated so you can continue to take
care of your loved one.
appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789
How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated: Signs, Symptoms & Prevention
Our bodies depend on being hydrated to function properly. Cells, organs and tissues need it to regulate body temperature and our blood, bones and brain need it to retain moisture. Water also helps lubricate our joints and spines. In order to keep our bodies in full operation, we have an important job to do: stay hydrated! When we lose more fluid than we take in, we can get dehydrated which can lead to some uncomfortable symptoms and potential complications. Here, we’ll be explaining how to tell if you’re dehydrated, including common signs and prevention tips.
What Causes Dehydration?
Dehydration can happen to anyone at any time — not just to athletes in warm climates. Generally, not drinking enough water, losing too much water or a combination of both can cause dehydration.
The following conditions will also contribute:
- Diarrhea – This causes the body to excrete too much water.
- Vomiting – Similar to diarrhea, vomiting leads to a substantial loss of fluids.
- Sweating – This releases a lot of fluids quickly, especially during hot weather or physical activity. Fevers can also cause sweating, which is why taking in fluids when you’re sick is so important.
- Frequent Urination – Alcohol and certain medications (diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure medication) can lead to excessive urination, which can dehydrate you.
How to Tell if You’re Dehydrated
Besides an increased level of thirst, your body will exhibit other symptoms that will tell you if you’re dehydrated. These signs and symptoms are important to pay attention to. If ignored, you could risk injury or further complications.
Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration in Kids
Children and infants may not know how to communicate their dehydration symptoms, or even be able to get a drink for themselves. That’s why parents and adults should look out for the following signs:
- Few or no tears when crying
- Eyes that look sunken
- Urinating less or fewer wet diapers than usual
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Dry, cool skin
Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults
Luckily, adults can grab a water bottle when they’re thirsty. But a busy day can easily become distracting, which means grabbing a drink of water might not be top of mind. When that’s the case, these mild side effects of dehydration in adults should be noted:
- Urine that is more yellow than normal
- Dry Skin
- Increased thirst
- Dry Mouth
- Decreased Urination
Risk Factors & Complications of Dehydration
If dehydration is left untreated, the following severe symptoms can occur in both children and adults.
- Drop in blood pressure
- Dizziness/lightheadedness that affects a person’s ability to walk
- Rapid heart rate
Chronic illnesses like untreated diabetes or kidney disease can also put you at risk for more severe case of dehydration. Repeated instances of dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney stones and kidney failure, which is why it’s important to attend to the condition as soon as possible and prevent future occurrences of dehydration.
5 Important Nutrition Tips for Student Athletes
How to Treat Dehydration
Mild dehydration from physical activity or heat will make you thirsty, so replenish fluids as necessary. Water should be your go-to beverage, but you can also drink beverages with electrolytes. You should stop any physical activity and rest in a cool, shaded area until you start feeling better.
For serious cases of dehydration, you may need to visit a doctor to be treated with intravenous (IV) fluids. If you have any of the severe symptoms listed above, you should seek medical attention.
How to Prevent Dehydration
First and foremost, you should drink water regularly throughout the day to prevent getting dehydrated. It helps to have a refillable water bottle with you — whether you’re at school, work, or practice — so that you always have a reminder to drink water.
In hot weather or when you’ll be doing a lot of physical activity, know that you need to drink more to replenish fluids that will be leaving your body quicker than normally through sweat. And if you’re sick with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, it’s important to start replacing fluids quickly since there’s a higher risk of dehydration.
Get 10 Injury prevention tips in our free eBook
Be Wary of What You Drink
What you drink will be just as important! To prevent dehydration, there are three types of beverages you should avoid:
Alcohol can cause cells to shrink, which squeezes extra water out and creates frequent urges to use the restroom.
An excessive caffeine habit — more than 500 milligrams a day, or more than five cups of coffee a day — can also dehydrate you.
Sodas and energy drinks are also full of caffeine and sugars, which will pull water from your tissues and cause you to use the restroom more than usual.
Our bodies do a lot for us. Make sure you help your body perform at its best by drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated!
Dehydration – causes, symptoms, treatment
Dehydration is when a person’s body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to function normally.
It is of particular concern in babies and young children, and in the elderly.
Mild to moderate dehydration can be prevented by drinking more fluids (rehydration) but severe dehydration, which can have serious consequences, requires prompt medical care.
Having sufficient water in our bodies is essential for the body to function properly. Fluid is lost from the body every day in the form of water vapour from the lungs when breathing, and in sweat, urine, and stools.
Small quantities of electrolytes (salts) are lost with fluid loss. Dehydration can result in an imbalance of electrolytes, especially sodium, potassium, and chloride, which affects the way the body functions.
Dehydration can result from not drinking enough fluid, losing too much fluid, or a combination of both.
People might not drink enough because they:
- Do not feel like eating or drinking due to illness
- Are too busy and forget to drink
- Do not have immediate access to safe drinking water
- Have a sore throat or mouth sores.
People might lose body fluids more quickly than normal because of:
- Excessive sweating due to vigorous physical activity, especially in hot and humid weather
- Prolonged fever. The higher the fever, the greater the dehydration
- Severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea, which can result in substantial fluid and electrolyte loss in a short space of time
- Urinating too much, due to uncontrolled diabetes or certain medications (eg: diuretics and some blood pressure medications that cause more frequent urination).
Severe diarrhoea and vomiting is the most common cause of dehydration in babies and young children.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults include:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Muscle cramps
- Dark coloured, strong-smelling urine
- Not urinating much and/or passing urine less often than normal.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration in babies and young children include:
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Fewer or no wet nappies
- Fewer or no tears when crying
- Sunken soft spot on their head (fontanelle)
- Sunken eyes and cheeks
Dehydration can usually be diagnosed on the basis of a person’s physical signs and symptoms.
A doctor may also look for the following signs of dehydration:
- Low blood pressure
- Blood pressure that drops when standing up after lying down (postural hypotension)
- White fingertips that when pressed do not return to a pink colour
- Reduced skin “fullness” (when a dehydrated person’s skin is pinched into a fold, it may slowly sag back into place. In a person who is hydrated the skin springs back more quickly)
- Rapid heartbeat.
The following laboratory tests may be performed to determine the severity of the dehydration and/or the cause of the dehydration:
- Blood tests to check electrolyte levels and kidney function
- Blood sugar test for diabetes
- Urine tests.
Left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious complications including:
- Heat exhaustion or heatstroke
- Urinary and kidney problems, including urinary tract infection and kidney stones
- Fits (seizures)
- Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) which is a serious complication that can be life-threatening
- Brain damage
The primary aims of treatment for dehydration are to restore the body’s normal fluid volume and balance of electrolyte levels.
To treat mild to moderate dehydration:
- Drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted fruit juice, and sports drinks that contain electrolytes
- If frequent vomiting makes it difficult to keep water down, try drinking small amounts more frequently
- Avoid high-sugar drinks, and caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
Babies and young children who are dehydrated should not be given substantial amounts of water. Too much water on its own can further dilute already low levels of electrolytes and lead to complications. Instead, they should be given diluted fruit juice or a rehydration solution (available from pharmacies).
A teaspoon or syringe may be helpful for giving fluids to babies. It is advisable to see your doctor early if dehydration is suspected in a young one, as it is often difficult to assess the hydration level accurately, and the condition may change very rapidly.
Severe dehydration requires a hospital visit and fluids and electrolytes given through a vein, ie: intravenously, for rapid rehydration and recovery.
Further information and support
Free phone: 0800 611 116
Free phone: 0800 933 922
Cotter, J.D., et al. (2014) Are we being drowned in hydration advice? Thirsty for more? Extrem Physiol Med. 2014;3:18
Mayo Clinic (2019). Dehydration (Web Page). Rochester, MN: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086 [Accessed: 01/02/20]
MedlinePlus (2017). Dehydration (Web Page). Bethesda, MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000982.htm [Accessed: 01/02/20]
NHS (2019). Dehydration. Redditch: National Health Service (NHS) England. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/ [Accessed: 01/02/20]
O’Toole, M.T. (Ed.) (2017). Dehydration. Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions (10th ed.). St Louis, MI: Elsevier.
Last reviewed: February 2020
Dehydration | Cancer.Net
Dehydration happens when a person does not take in enough fluid or loses too much fluid. Your cells and organs depend on water. Without it, the human body cannot function properly. The water in your body performs many tasks:
Transports nutrients and oxygen
Controls heart rate and blood pressure
Regulates body temperature
Protects organs and tissue, including the eyes, ears, and heart
Removes waste and toxins
If you are receiving cancer treatment, you may be at a higher risk for dehydration due to side effects, such as diarrhea and vomiting.
What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
The longer you go without taking in enough fluid, the more dehydrated you will become. Thirst is one way your body alerts you to drink more fluid. However, sometimes you can become dehydrated without feeling thirsty. Other possible dehydration symptoms include:
A dry or sticky mouth or a swollen tongue
Fatigue or weakness
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Nausea and vomiting
Dark yellow urine or a decrease in urination
Severe dehydration can be life-threatening and needs immediate medical treatment. It can cause the following symptoms:
Low blood pressure
Lack of urination for more than 8 hours
Inability to sweat
Inability to produce tears
Disorientation or confusion
Talk with your health care team about any new symptoms or change in symptoms that you experience.
What are the causes of dehydration?
You lose water every day through natural body functions. These include breathing, sweating, and going to the bathroom. Most people easily replace that fluid through drinking and eating. But certain conditions affect the body’s ability to stay hydrated. These include:
Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Cancer treatment, including certain types of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, can cause these side effects.
Fever. A high fever can cause dehydration. People receiving cancer treatment may be at risk for developing infections that can cause fever.
Age. Infants, children, and older adults are at a greater risk for dehydration. Young children pass water and electrolytes out of the body frequently. Electrolytes are minerals that help regulate the body. As a person gets older, the body slowly loses the ability to conserve water. Older adults also are less likely to sense that they are thirsty. They may not eat or drink enough, especially if they live alone.
Chronic illness. Many diseases — such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and kidney disease — increase dehydration risk and the need for fluids. For example, people with uncontrolled diabetes urinate frequently. Some medications can also cause a person to urinate or sweat more than normal.
Environment. Living, working, and exercising in a hot or humid environment increase the need for fluids. People living at high altitudes, from 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) to 12,000 feet (3,700 meters) above sea level, also need more fluids. This is because their bodies lose water as they work to take in more oxygen.
Exercise. Everyone loses water through sweat. Exercise can make you sweat more. Even if you do not see sweat, you are likely sweating. The more you exercise, the more fluid you need to replace.
How is dehydration diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose dehydration using several methods:
Taking your vital signs, such as your blood pressure and pulse
Testing your blood for factors such as your electrolytes and kidney function
Testing your urine for the level of dehydration or to find out what may be causing dehydration
How is dehydration treated?
Relieving side effects, also called palliative care or supportive care, is an important part of cancer care and treatment. Treatment for dehydration depends on its severity. For mild dehydration, you might try the following:
If you are able to drink, take in small amounts of fluid frequently instead of a large amount at one time. Drinking too much at once may cause vomiting.
Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and sip from it throughout the day.
Drink a large glass of water before bed and when you wake up each morning.
Suck on ice chips or popsicles if you have trouble drinking or eating.
Apply moisturizer to cracked lips and medication to mouth sores. This can make drinking and eating less painful.
If you have diarrhea, choose drinks that have sodium and potassium to help replace these lost minerals.
Keep ice and drinks within reach so you do not have to get up as often, if you are tired.
You doctor may recommend an oral rehydration solution if you are not vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. In this case, you may be moderately dehydrated.
Your doctor may prescribe fluids to given directly through a vein, also called intravenous (IV) fluids. In this case, you may be severely dehydrated.
How can dehydration be prevented?
The following tips can help keep your body’s fluid balance in check:
Drink lots of fluids. The amount of fluid needed each day to stay hydrated depends on your health, treatment, and lifestyle. Ask your doctor how much water you should drink. If you dislike plain water, try drinking flavored water or adding a slice of lemon. Other fluids can also help, including milk, low-sugar juice, and caffeine-free tea.
Remember to avoid foods and drinks that may contribute to dehydration. Avoid alcohol. Choose drinks with low sugar and low or no caffeine. Water is often a better choice than fruit juice, soda, or coffee.
Eat foods with high water content. Drinking water is the best way to hydrate. But many foods contain water and can also help replenish lost fluids. Choose foods such as lettuce (95% water), watermelon (92% water), and broccoli (91% water). Soup, popsicles, and yogurt also have high water content.
Manage side effects. Cancer treatment can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Talk with your health care team about ways to prevent or reduce these side effects and any concerns you have about dehydration.
Monitor your environment and activity. Do not wait to drink water or other fluids. Make a conscious effort to drink regularly. Drink more often before you exercise and before you go outside in hot weather. During an illness or if you are feeling unwell, be proactive and drink water to stay hydrated in order to help your recovery.
Cancer.Net Podcast: The Importance of Hydration
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
When to Call the Doctor During Cancer Treatment
American Cancer Society: Dehydration and Lack of Fluids
Most Common Symptoms of Dehydration in Seniors
Some symptoms of health issues come on suddenly: severe pain, shortness of breath, and fainting, to name a few. Others are slow and sneaky, creating serious health complications before you can even recognize the problem. The biggest culprit? Dehydration.
Dehydration is the most common electrolyte and fluid concern among seniors thanks to its often-undetected symptoms. Don’t let these signs of dehydration fly under your radar; read on to learn what to look out for.
Top Signs of Dehydration in Seniors
In most adults, urine can tell a lot about hydration levels: not only the amount produced, but the color, too. Clear urine signifies that a person is well hydrated, while darker urine usually signifies dehydration. The other big sign of dehydration? Thirst, of course. Most adults are well acquainted with the sensation of thirst, but the elderly often dismiss or simply do not to notice this early symptom, which means it’s essential to keep an eye out for other indicators, such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth
- Headaches or dizziness
- An inability to sweat
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
Severe dehydration is marked by shriveled skin, a sunken look in the eyes, low blood pressure, and delirium. Severe dehydration is a serious risk for the elderly; caretakers, it’s essential that you address signs of dehydration before these symptoms start to manifest themselves.
Luckily, there’s a simple test you can perform on your elderly loved one to check for dehydration. Pinch the skin on the back of their hand and observe how quickly it returns to normal. If it snaps back immediately, it’s not likely they’re dehydrated. If it maintains a tented shape for an extra second or two, that’s a sign of dehydration.
Common Causes of Dehydration in the Elderly
The root causes of dehydration are loss of bodily fluids and not getting enough water. Healthy adults can become dehydrated because they neglect to drink water throughout the hustle and bustle of daily life. For seniors, it’s often a different story.
Many seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s literally forget to drink water frequently. Mobility-impaired seniors who live alone might have a hard time accessing water. Seniors with diabetes might have a hard time keeping up with frequent urination, a common diabetes symptom. The flu can also lead to dehydration due to symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting; seniors have a tougher time bouncing back from the flu than healthy adults, which means that hydrating is essential during and after a flu bout.
Different health issues pose unique risks of dehydration in the elderly, so it’s a good idea to take a minute and ask yourself these questions: What might be preventing your loved one from getting enough water? And what can you do to reduce that risk?
As we age, our body’s water percentage naturally decreases. Since seniors already have less body water to work with, staying hydrated is critical for them, especially when paired with a complex health issue like Alzheimer’s or diabetes.
People who live in high altitudes are more subject to dehydration since there’s less oxygen available, which can lead to water loss through rapid respiration. So are those diagnosed with chronic illnesses, such as an adrenal gland disorder, alcoholism, kidney disease, or cystic fibrosis.
Regardless of problems that can stem from complex health issues, hydration education is one of the biggest risk factors for the elderly. In one study, more than half of the elderly population surveyed reported that they didn’t know that dehydration could lead to seizures, confusion, and death. The majority was also found to overestimate the amount of fluid loss that shows as a symptom of moderate dehydration, and more than half also admitted to drinking fewer than six glasses of water per day.
Potential Complications of Dehydration
Here’s the thing about dehydration: as a healthy adult, serious complications due to dehydration seem unlikely at best. But for the elderly, complications pose a much bigger risk, if only because signs of dehydration are often much harder to catch in a senior than they are in a younger adult. Often, elderly loved ones struggle with dehydration without their caretakers or themselves realizing, which makes potential complications more likely. These complications can include:
- Kidney problems
- Low blood volume
- Heat strokes
Tips to Prevent Dehydration in the Elderly
- Educate seniors on the importance of hydration. The elderly still have agency and want to do everything they can to stay in good health. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia might struggle to remember to drink water, but you should still prioritize hydration education.
- Encourage taking small drinks throughout the day. Large glasses of water can be intimidating to some seniors. Instead, make sure they always have a water bottle handy for small sips.
- Fill the fridge with foods high in water content. Fruits, veggies, and even yogurt can help seniors stay hydrated.
- Mind the weather. Sweating in hot weather can lead to dehydration, and so can moisture loss from dry air in the winter or at high altitudes.
- Discourage diuretic beverages. Alcohol, coffee, and some protein drinks can increase urination, which can exacerbate dehydration.
Treating Dehydration in the Elderly At Home
Noticing symptoms of dehydration in the elderly can be scary for both seniors and their caretakers, especially if symptoms are advanced. And traveling to the emergency room or urgent care clinic with a symptomatic senior can pose challenges: confused seniors might not want to get in the car, dizziness might require them to stay planted on the couch, and hot weather might exacerbate dehydration symptoms.
DispatchHealth can help. We’ll send our qualified medical professionals to treat dehydration in seniors within the comfort of their own home. We can treat almost everything the emergency room (ER) can, including testing electrolyte levels, administering IV fluids, and prescribing anti-nausea medication if appropriate. We’ve also partnered with the majority of insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, to ensure we can provide in-home care at one-tenth the cost of an ER visit. After treatment, we always send a detailed report to each patient’s primary care physician, home health agency, or living community—plus, we can electronically send prescriptions to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.
If you’ve noticed non-life-threatening symptoms of dehydration in a senior, request a visit from DispatchHealth via phone, our mobile app, or online—we’ll be there within a few hours.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article:
90,000 What Every Parent Should Know?
Dehydration (the medical term exicosis) is a pathological condition in which the body loses fluid, as well as salts and minerals dissolved in it.
What could be the cause of dehydration in children?
1. Difficulty entering fluid into the body. This situation is rare. This, or the lack of drinking water at hand. Or the child’s refusal to drink liquid. For example, due to pain when swallowing.Or severe pathological conditions in which the child cannot swallow on his own.
2. Increased excretion of water and minerals by the body. When the loss exceeds her income. This situation is observed in acute infections, food poisoning, parasitic infection, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, overheating, and burns.
It is worth talking about these reasons in more detail.
1. Increased fluid loss can occur with acute respiratory infection.Sweating increases with high fever. This is a physiological process. This is how the body cools itself. In addition, fluid loss occurs with mucus that is excreted abundantly from the nose. And also when coughing, especially productive. Severe dehydration with ARVI usually does not occur. However, fluid loss should be replenished in full, especially in young children. That is why pediatricians recommend an abundant warm drink for colds. Warm water is absorbed faster in the intestines than cold water.
2. The most dangerous condition for dehydration is such a condition as an acute intestinal infection. Her symptoms:
- increased temperature;
- single or multiple vomiting;
- diarrhea, the frequency of stool in this case can be from two (subject to a liquid consistency) to 20 or more times per day;
- pain and rumbling in the abdomen;
- Loss of appetite, weakness, drowsiness;
- refusal of water and drink.
This infection is especially dangerous in infants. This is due to their physiological characteristics: they have a higher percentage of body fluids. For babies, losing even a small amount of fluid can be dangerous.
Intestinal infections are divided into two large groups – viral and bacterial. The mainstay of the treatment of viral infections is precisely the fight against dehydration. Some bacterial infections require an antibiotic. In order to distinguish between the two types of infections, you need to show the child to the pediatrician.It is not worth prescribing an antibiotic to the child yourself, because it is not necessary in all cases of intestinal infection.
3. Food poisoning – usually does not threaten the child’s life and goes away quickly enough, within 1-2 days, with rare exceptions.
4. It is very important to replenish fluid in case of burns, including sunburn. Since damaged skin loses a large amount of fluid.
What are the types of dehydration?
Doctors classify exicosis according to severity.Depending on how many percent of body weight the child lost in the form of water:
Grade 1 – 3% of body weight. Light degree of dehydration. Its main features:
- dry skin and mucous membranes;
- tense urination.
Grade 2 – from 3 to 6% of body weight. Moderate severity. The main symptoms are:
- expressed thirst;
- dry skin and mucous membranes;
- tongue coated with white or grayish bloom;
- weakness and drowsiness;
- urinary retention up to 6 hours;
- in infants, retraction of the fontanel.
Grade 3 – 9% or more. Severe dehydration. This condition is dangerous and requires immediate medical attention. Its main features will be:
- crying of a child without tears;
- severe weakness and drowsiness;
- pronounced retraction of the fontanelle in infants;
- Severely dry skin, chapped lips;
- eye sinking;
The most severe symptoms of dehydration are:
- Thin sagging skin;
- loss of consciousness;
- drop in body temperature;
What symptoms can a doctor find on examination?
- shallow breathing;
- rapid heart rate;
- decrease in blood pressure;
- increase, and in severe cases, a decrease in body temperature relative to the norm.
In addition, you should definitely show your child to a doctor if:
- blood was found in stool or vomit;
- if the child categorically refuses to drink, and the diarrhea continues for more than a day;
90,017 child drinks, but diarrhea lasts more than a week.
What to do when dehydrated?
First of all, you need to try to get the child drunk.
1 What should be given to drink?
- Breast milk remains the topical drink for an infant.Babies with signs of dehydration should be applied to the breast as often as possible, do not skip night feedings, and do not shorten the feeding time. In addition to breast milk, children should be offered plain boiled water
- For older children, there are special solutions for oral rehydration. With their help, you can replenish not only the loss of water, but also electrolytes (potassium, calcium, sodium, chlorine), as well as glucose. It is better to consult a doctor about the choice of a specific drug. not all oral rehydration solutions can be used at an early age.In the absence of a special medicine. Or, if the child refuses to drink it, you can give the child plain water or other liquids to drink.
2 What shouldn’t be given to drink?
- It is strictly forbidden to use coffee or tea to replace the loss of liquid. These drinks can worsen the symptoms of dehydration. have a diuretic effect.
- Do not use sugary carbonated drinks for soldering. They can aggravate the manifestations of the underlying disease.
- Small children should not be fed with rice water, because it may contain traces of arsenic.
- Do not give fruit juices to children. Their daily consumption is limited in preschool children. Acidic juices can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and worsen diarrhea.
- Do not give cows milk to children. It gives a high protein load on the baby’s digestive organs. May provoke vomiting. In addition, it should not be given even to healthy children under one year old.
3. How to drink properly?
You need to drink in small portions, starting with the volume of half or a whole teaspoon, gradually increasing the volume to 2-3 tablespoons. The one-time volume is individual and depends on the well-being of the child and the presence of vomiting. You need to offer liquid to the child every 5-15 minutes. Unsoldering lasts until the child stops losing fluid.
5. How to determine the required volume of liquid?
Clinical guidelines do not give strict recommendations in this regard.Approximate volume of 50-100 ml for each kilogram of the child’s weight for the first few hours. For an approximate calculation, you can rely on age. Up to 2 years old, a child needs to consume about a liter of liquid per day, after 2 years up to one and a half liters.
6. What if the child does not drink?
Only droppers can be an alternative to oral soldering. Therefore, you need to make every effort to ensure that the child drinks a certain amount of liquid.If the child categorically refuses to use special solutions, compote, highly diluted non-acidic juice, weak tea can become an alternative.
In severe dehydration, fluid loss is replenished only by intravenous administration. This is possible only in an infectious hospital. With the development of a life-threatening condition, the child can be taken to the intensive care unit.
How else can you help a child?
Usually, children who are dehydrated refuse to eat.You should not feed your child if he flatly refuses. As soon as the baby becomes a little easier, he will ask for food himself. Cereals are considered optimal for nutrition. Porridge with milk diluted in half with water. You can also offer your baby steam cutlets, stewed vegetables, non-steep broths, dryers and crackers. They categorically exclude from the diet sugary carbonated drinks, fatty and fried, raw fruits and vegetables and whole milk.
Food should be offered to the child in small portions, at short intervals.In my practice, it often happens that a baby who feels better asks for large amounts of food at once. Parents rejoice at the appetite that has appeared. As a result, the child is overfed. This provokes a new wave of malaise, vomiting and repeated dehydration.
It is very important to provide an optimal environment. A sick child’s room should be cool. The hotter it is, the more water is lost. Dehydration increases.
You cannot give your child antiemetic and antidiarrheal drugs on their own.These medicines can only be used as directed by a doctor and under his strict supervision.
Online consultation of a Pediatrician
As part of the consultation, you will be able to voice your problem, the doctor will clarify the situation, decipher the analyzes, answer your questions and give the necessary recommendations.
What are the adverse effects of dehydration in a child?
If assistance was provided to the child on time and in full, dehydration does not have any negative consequences for the body.
In advanced cases, the consequences can be disruption of the functioning of organs and systems:
- Disruption of the cardiovascular system: decrease in blood pressure, oxygen starvation of the body, arrhythmia as a result of impaired ion exchange;
- impaired renal function due to imbalance of blood electrolytes;
- Disruption of the nervous system (convulsions).
- violation of thermoregulation, drop in body temperature.
Prevention of conditions contributing to dehydration
First of all, you need to try to protect your baby from intestinal infections. Vaccination is a specific prophylaxis measure. A vaccine against rotavirus infection has now been developed. It is administered to a child from 2 to 8 months of age three times. And it protects the baby’s body in 80-85% of cases from infection and in 100% of cases from severe course.
Non-specific prevention of intestinal infection is the observance of hygienic measures: frequent hand washing, reducing contact with sick children.
If the infection could not be avoided, then the child should be shown to the pediatrician. And start soldering with water or a special solution on your own, even before the doctor arrives.
Prevention of food poisoning is the rejection of the use of poor-quality products, proper heat treatment of food.
In case of overheating and sunburn, it is necessary to replenish the lost fluid in a timely and sufficient amount.And also cool the body by rubbing with cold water or a cool bath.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, parents manage to cope with the manifestations of dehydration in a baby on their own. However, you need to be wary of symptoms, especially in children under one year old, in order to provide them with medical assistance in a timely manner.
Dehydration – signs, causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention
A gastroenterologist can diagnose dehydration.The doctor will conduct an initial examination and record all the symptoms and complaints of the patient. After that, you will need to pass a clinical analysis of blood, urine and feces. The results of the study will help to accurately determine the cause of dehydration, because this is the only way the doctor can prescribe the correct treatment.
Remember, dehydration is easier and faster to prevent than to cure.
Treatment of dehydration is carried out by an integrated method: elimination of the cause of dehydration and treatment of the dehydration itself.Treatment will consist of replacing the lost fluid with electrolytes in order to restore the body’s water balance. Treatment methods will depend on the patient’s age, physiological characteristics, human activity and the severity of the disease. If the patient is admitted with a severe form, in this case, oral administration of fluid for rehydration will be necessary, restriction of certain food products.
In some cases, there may be complications of dehydration: heatstroke, cerebral edema, convulsions, shock, in extreme cases, coma and death.
This disease is a consequence of a lack of fluid in the body, therefore preventive measures are those measures that the patient must follow throughout his life. It is necessary to drink a sufficient amount of clean water, juices. Be sure to lead a healthy lifestyle, exercise moderately. If you are going for physical training, you should drink 1 liter of water before it.
Literature and sources
90,000 Signs We Are Drinking Low Water / Articles / New Jerusalem Water
The human body is a complex system with a variety of regulation mechanisms.One of these mechanisms is the feeling of thirst. It reminds us that it is time to replenish the fluid balance in the tissues.
Quite often a person does not listen to his needs, preferring instead of water to use juices, tea, coffee, lemonade, thereby harming the body. Only water is capable of renewing the cells of our body, removing toxins and directing metabolic processes.
Our body is able to adapt to various favorable and not very favorable conditions. Therefore, it gets used to the systematic lack of water.Nevertheless, our body signals a water imbalance with a number of characteristic signs.
Signs of an early stage of dehydration
The following states and sensations will tell that our body receives an insufficient amount of water.
- Dry mouth is an obvious and very first sign of incipient dehydration. In this case, soda, juice or tea is not a way out of the problem. The body requires replenishment of clean drinking water.
- Excessive thirst and lack of fullness appear when the body has lost a significant portion of the water.In defense, the brain actively sends signals that are interpreted as very intense thirst. And until the balance is back to normal, neurons will continue to broadcast the desire to drink.
- Feelings of hunger can become a compensatory mechanism instead of the desire to get drunk.
- Even a mild cold occurs with a large number of side effects if a person does not drink enough water, since toxins are not properly eliminated.
- Dryness of the skin signals that the internal structures are dehydrated due to illness or do not receive enough fluid.
- Dryness and itching sensation in the lacrimal canals of the eyes indicates that the tubules are dry and an urgent need to drink water.
- Heartburn is one of the signs of a violation of the water-salt balance in the body. The concentration of acidity in gastric juice increases and leads to mucosal damage.
- Violation of the swallowing reflex occurs with more severe dehydration.
- A decrease in volume and darkening of urine is characteristic of a lack of fluid.This symptom is typical for some pathologies. Before sounding the alarm, you should analyze your drinking regimen.
- Joint pain occurs due to chronic lack of water. Pain syndrome can manifest itself after physical exertion and at rest, in the elderly and young people. This is because the cartilage tissue is 80% water, and if there is a lack of fluid, the cartilage dries up and wears out intensively.
- A decrease in muscle mass naturally accompanies the process of dehydration.This kind of weight loss will not be beneficial.
- Chronic fatigue with insufficient fluid intake is associated with the fact that the body begins to borrow it from the blood. The brain does not receive enough oxygen, forming a feeling of weakness even after eight hours of sleep.
- Sleepiness goes hand in hand with dehydration. Even very strong coffee will not invigorate if a person does not drink enough water.
- Rapid heart rate – the result of increased blood viscosity. The cause of thickening is the active movement of plasma to organs.
- Problems with memorization and violation of short-term memory.
Correct drinking regimen allows our body to cope with stress more easily, have a healthy complexion and maintain youthful skin. As we age, our body loses more fluid. This must be taken into account when adjusting water consumption.
WHEN THE BODY PRAYS FOR WATER: UNEXPECTED SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Have you ever been so busy that you neglected to drink even a sip or two of water for an extended period of time, and then suddenly realized that you need a large sip of liquid? By supplying water to your body when it reports you are thirsty, you often prevent dehydration.
In fact, as a rule, the physiological mechanism of your body’s thirst is triggered before you are dehydrated, which makes it possible to rehydrate before it is too late.
Dehydration of the body leads to fatigue, irritability and malaise
However, there are some exceptions to this rule – the elderly and young children are especially at risk of becoming dehydrated. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of older adults are dehydrated, often due to water deprivation and the fact that humans, by nature, have a lower volume of water in their bodies as they age.Babies and children can also become dehydrated quickly, especially if they are sick and suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.
One study even suggested that more than half of American children are dehydrated, and about a quarter do not drink water daily. Among healthy adults, the National Academy of Sciences concluded: “The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by allowing thirst to guide them.”
However, if you ignore your thirst or do not drink enough water during hot weather, especially during exercise, it is quite easy to become dehydrated and be surprised by unexpected signs and symptoms.
Why Your Body Needs Water
Your body is made up of approximately 42 liters (44.4 quarts) of water, which accounts for 50 to 70 percent of your body weight. Your blood is 85 percent water, your muscles are 80 percent water, your brain is 75 percent water and even your bones are 25 percent water, which signals the importance of this fluid for your health. So what happens if you don’t drink enough?
The # 1 risk factor for kidney stones is inadequate water intake.What’s more, there is some research showing that adequate fluid intake is associated with a lower risk of developing certain cancers, such as bladder cancer or colon and rectal cancer.
Even the risk of fatal coronary heart disease is directly related to water intake. In this study, women who drank five or more glasses of water a day reduced their risk by 41 percent compared to women who drank less.In the meantime, men have cut their risk by 54 percent.
Your body also needs water for circulation, metabolism, regulating body temperature and removing waste. If you are even marginally dehydrated, your mood and cognitive function may also be affected.
In a study of 25 women, it was shown that those who suffered from 1.36 percent dehydration experienced worse mood, irritability, headaches and lower concentration, and perceived tasks were more difficult.
When you don’t drink enough water, you can also be dangerous on the road. According to a study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, it is shown that dehydrated drivers have twice the error rate during a two-hour ride compared to hydrated drivers.
How your body reacts to too little water
Your body works optimally when it is sufficiently hydrated, while negative biological changes occur when there is no fluid.When you are dehydrated, the fluid in your brain tissue decreases, resulting in changes in brain volume.
Your blood also becomes denser and less circulating, which can lead to muscle cramps and cause your kidneys to retain water, so your urinary frequency will decrease.
Also, according to Toby Mundel, Senior Lecturer in Sports and Exercise, Massey University, New Zealand:
“The denser and more concentrated your blood becomes, the harder it is for the cardiovascular system to compensate for the increase in heart rate to maintain blood pressure.
When your dehydrated body ‘squeezes’, such as during exercise or under heat stress, the risk of exhaustion or collapse increases. This can lead to the fact that you will lose consciousness, for example, at the moment of too sharp rise.
Lack of water also interferes with the body’s attempts to regulate temperature, which can cause hyperthermia (body temperature is much higher than normal). At the cellular level, ‘shrinkage’ occurs as water is efficiently taken up to maintain other stores such as blood.The brain senses this and leads to an increased sense of thirst. “
Mündel recommends tracking body weight to monitor hydration levels. First, as soon as you get out of bed, weigh yourself three mornings in a row, and then calculate the average value of the scales. This is your normal base weight and you should stay within 1 percent of that if you are fully hydrated (assuming other factors have not affected your weight).
Unexpected signs of dehydration
When your body is dehydrated, water shortage can manifest itself in unexpected signs and symptoms, including:
Bad breath: Saliva is antibacterial, but when you are dehydrated, the amount of saliva in your mouth decreases.This allows odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
Cravings for sweets: Thirst can disguise itself as hunger. Many people crave snacks when they are actually thirsty. Cravings are especially common when you are dehydrated because your liver, which releases stored glucose, requires water to do so. In addition, Amy Goodson, a sports nutritionist for the Dallas Cowboys, told Health Magazine, “When you exercise in a dehydrated state, you use more glycogen (stored carbohydrates), thereby decreasing your stores more quickly.”
Athletic Decline: If you’re in the midst of a workout, a 2 percent loss in body weight through water loss can result in up to 10 percent drop in performance, Goodson says.
Reduced alertness and increased fatigue: In a 2013 study, 20 healthy women, around the age of 25, were deprived of all drinks for 24 hours. Although no clinical abnormalities were observed in biological parameters (urine, blood and saliva), thirst and heart rate increased, and urination decreased sharply (and the urine became darker).
With regard to the effect on mood, the authors noted: “Significant effects [of fluid deprivation] on mood included decreased alertness and increased sleepiness, fatigue and confusion.” Other studies have shown that levels of dehydration as low as 1 percent can negatively affect cognitive performance.
Chills: If you feel cold for no reason, this may be the reason why you need to drink water. When you are dehydrated, your body restricts blood flow to your skin, which can make you feel cold.
Constipation is another consequence of not drinking enough water, as your body actually pulls water out of your stool to compensate for what you are not taking. This, in turn, makes your stools drier, harder, and harder to pass.
Other symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration include:
Mild to moderate dehydration
Dry, clammy mouth
Drowsiness or fatigue
Few or no tears when crying
Minimum amount of urine
Dry, cold skin
Irritability and confusion
Dry skin that does not come back in shape when you squeeze it
Low blood pressure
No tears when crying
Little or no urination color of urine that is darker than usual
In severe cases, delirium tremens or loss of consciousness
How much water is enough?
There is a lot of controversy about how much water the average person needs to drink to stay healthy.You’ve probably heard the recommendation to drink eight 8-ounce glasses (abbreviated as 8×8) of water a day to stay healthy, and this is often referred to as scientific fact.
This is not easy, however, as many factors affect how much water you need, from your age and health status to your activity level and climate.
In addition, in a review published in the American Journal of Physiology, Dr. Heinz Waltin of Dartmouth Medical School did not find a scientific basis for the 8×8 rule, which is rightly described as a myth.Valtin also dispelled some of the myths about water consumption, such as not drinking until you feel like it, too late, because by then you will be dehydrated.
As Valtin said, “Thirst is so sensitive, fast and accurate that it’s hard to imagine how evolutionary development has left us with chronic water scarcity that must be compensated for by forced fluid intake.” Ultimately, you don’t need to get bogged down trying determine the exact amount of water your body needs, or track how many glasses you consumed per day.
This is not necessary because your body will tell you about it. Simply using thirst as a guide to how much water you need to drink is an easy way to help meet your individual needs day in and day out. You can also use the color of your urine as a guide.
If it is deep, dark yellow in color, you are probably not drinking enough water. Pale straw color or light yellow color usually indicates sufficient hydration.
If your urine is poor or if you have not urinated for several hours, this also indicates that you are not drinking enough. (Based on the results of several different studies, a healthy person urinates about seven or eight times a day on average.)
If you know you tend to ignore your thirst and not drink when your body signals it, then it would be wise to pay more attention and always find time to drink water when you are thirsty.
In infants and children, detecting dehydration may be more difficult, but if you see these symptoms, you can assume that your child is dehydrated and should seek immediate medical attention:
Sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on the head
- Little or no tears when they cry
- Dry mouth
- Too few wet diapers
- Rapid breathing.
5 signs of dehydration that should make you see a doctor
Dehydration of the body, or dehydration, is a pathology caused by a decrease in the amount of water in the body below the physiological norm. Why is this phenomenon dangerous? With mild dehydration, which involves the loss of up to 10% of the body’s fluid, a person will experience weakness and fatigue, and with severe dehydration, things can go to the point of clouding consciousness and lowering blood pressure to a dangerous level.In this case, the loss of 20–25% of the fluid can even become fatal. We will tell you for what reasons dehydration can occur and how to notice it at an early stage.
Causes of dehydration
The cause of dehydration can be all sorts of diseases associated with large losses of fluid, such as food poisoning, as well as insufficient water intake, prolonged work at high temperatures and disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system. In addition, dehydration often occurs in people who are struggling with excess weight and refuse to eat.By what signs can this condition be determined?
If you sweat much less during exercise, this is a serious signal that you need to undergo a medical examination. The fact is that insufficient moisture release during physical exertion is fraught with overheating and a general deterioration in well-being.
If your skin suddenly becomes dry, but still does not stop secreting sebum, it may be dehydrated and you should increase the amount of pure water in your daily diet.
An unpleasant odor (scientifically called halitosis) is often caused by dry mouth caused by a lack of saliva. After all, it is the bactericidal properties of saliva that prevent the growth of bacteria in the oral cavity, which cause bad breath.
The same part of the human brain, the hypothalamus, is responsible for the feelings of thirst and hunger. So if you are constantly feeling hungry, perhaps your body does not require food, but water.
Do you carefully monitor your diet and regularly attend workouts, but still gain excess weight? This is most likely due to dehydration, which slows down your metabolism and simply prevents you from losing weight. That is why nutritionists advise their patients to drink enough clean water and start their day with a glass of liquid.
Earlier, the news agency “In the city of N” told whether it is harmful to drink water with food.
Based on materials from the Lifehacker Zen channel.
90,000 Signs of dehydration in children and adults
Dehydration is one of the main dangers of summer, the severity of which many underestimate. It develops imperceptibly and does not cause much concern at first. But if you ignore the symptoms of dehydration, it can turn into a dangerous threat. How to protect yourself from an insidious ailment will be discussed in our article.
Studying the medical history
The reasons for dehydration of the human body can be very different.The main one is insufficient fluid intake. Add to this heavy sweating, overheating of the body on especially hot days, summer food poisoning, stress at work – here are the ideal conditions for the development of dehydration.
Often provoked by his abuse of drinks with caffeine, alcohol or tobacco. However, even good habits are sometimes harmful. So, intense sports and dieting often turn into an acute shortage of fluid.
There are entire risk groups that are more prone to dehydration than others.First of all, these are children from the first days of birth to 10–12 years old, elderly people, people with chronic kidney and liver diseases, as well as those who are engaged in physical labor in the fresh air.
It is important to remember: the consequences of dehydration are fraught with serious health problems. Disruption of metabolic processes, irreversible kidney damage, weakening of the immune defense, high blood pressure – these are just a few of them. Therefore, one should not neglect the signals that the body sends us.
By and large, the signs of dehydration in a child are exactly the same as in an adult. However, children are far from always able to clearly explain what worries them. So parents should closely monitor changes in their behavior and well-being. Lethargy, excessive moodiness, refusal of your favorite food and entertainment, digestive problems should alert you in the first place. Additional warning signs are high fever, chapped lips, and redness on the skin.
Symptoms of dehydration in adults are general malaise, inhibition of movements, constant fatigue and drowsiness, dark circles under the eyes. In advanced cases, this condition can be complicated by frequent vomiting for no apparent reason, tingling in the palms and feet, muscle cramps, swollen tongue, severe shortness of breath, dizziness, and migraines. Having found at least 3-4 of these symptoms in a child or someone close to you, you need to immediately move on to action.
What to do if the body is dehydrated? With a mild degree, it is enough to restore the water balance as soon as possible.To do this, slowly drink a glass of plain water every hour until your condition improves.
How to treat moderate dehydration at home? First of all, it is necessary to lay the victim in a well-ventilated room. Let him drink regular water in small sips through a straw. You can also put a water compress on the patient’s forehead, or even better, completely cover it with a damp sheet.
Preparations for restoring water-salt balance, such as rehydron or gastrolitis, are very effective.If they were not at hand, a proven folk remedy will help. Boil 100 g of raisins in 1 liter of water, strain and add 1 tsp to the broth. salt, 0.5 tsp. soda and 4 tsp. Sahara. Such a solution is taken in a glass 3 times a day.
What to drink in case of dehydration of the body except water? Mineral water high in sodium and potassium, citrus juices, green and herbal teas. If the patient’s condition remains severe and unchanged for more than 12 hours, consult a doctor immediately.
Now let’s talk about how to restore the body after dehydration. The first and most obvious recommendation is to drink enough water. The optimal volume ranges from 2.5 to 3 liters of water, not counting other drinks. Make it a rule to take a bottle of drink with you wherever you go. By the way, it doesn’t hurt to get a spray with thermal or mineral water. Sprinkle it on your face and hands if you are constantly thirsty.
Hang blackout curtains or reflective sheeting on the windows in your home.Try to leave windows open overnight. Just remember to install a mosquito net or plug in a fumigator. Use ice warmers to humidify and cool the air during the day. Fill them with water, freeze them and spread them all over the apartment.
The workplace should also be taken care of. Place plants with large leaves, such as ficus or begonia, on your office desk. Spray them periodically with a spray bottle – and constant freshness is ensured. You can also install an aquarium with fish in the office.All these measures will help you get back in shape faster after dehydration. However, as a preventive measure, they are also very effective.
Dehydration, even in mild form, can be a serious challenge for the body. You must admit that it is much easier to follow basic preventive measures than to deal with the consequences of this painful condition. Especially when it comes to the health, happiness and tranquility of the whole family.
90,000 Dehydration (Dehydration) – The ABC of Health
When to see a doctor
Dehydration (dehydration) is a condition in which the body contains an insufficient amount of water and fluids.
Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much body fluid is lost or not replenished. Severe dehydration is an extremely life-threatening condition.
Dehydration can occur due to the loss of a large amount of fluid, a lack of sufficient water supply to the body, or both.
The body can lose a large amount of fluid at:
Excessive sweating (eg from exercise)
Excessive urine production, for example, with uncontrolled diabetes e or when taking diuretics (drugs that remove fluid from the body)
Vomiting or diarrhea
You may not drink enough liquid due to:
Loss of appetite during illness
Sore throat and ulcers in the mouth
Dehydration in sick children is often the result of a combination of food or fluid refusal and fluid loss from vomiting , diarrhea , or fever .
Babies and children are more prone to dehydration than adults because they weigh less and lose fluids and electrolytes faster. The elderly and people with various medical conditions are also at higher risk.
Dry or sticky mouth
Lethargy or coma (with severe dehydration)
Reduced excretion of urine, or it is absent; dark yellow urine
Sunken fontanelles (soft area on the vertex) in a child
You may also have vomiting, diarrhea, or the feeling that you don’t want to do anything.All of this may be due to dehydration.
A decrease in skin elasticity (turgor) is observed when the skin (on the back of the hand in an adult or on the abdomen of a child) rises into a fold for a few seconds and does not return to its original state. Decreased skin turgor is a late sign of dehydration.
When examining a patient, the following can also be identified:
Decrease in blood pressure when moving from horizontal to vertical position
Reduced filling of capillaries
Low blood pressure
Reduced skin turgor – the skin may not be as elastic as usual, and returns to its original position slowly after the doctor collects it in a fold (usually, the skin immediately returns to its original position)
Increased heart rate
Biochemical blood test (to check the level of electrolytes, especially sodium, potassium and bicarbonate)
Determination of blood urea level
General blood test
Specific gravity of urine
Other tests may be done to determine the cause of dehydration (for example, blood sugar for a diabetes screening).
Fluid intake is usually sufficient to treat mild dehydration. It is better to drink small amounts of liquid frequently (using a teaspoon or syringe for an infant or child) rather than trying to drink a lot at one time. Drinking a lot of fluids at one time can cause vomiting.
Solutions of electrolytes or cold fizzy drinks are also very effective. They are available at pharmacies.Sports drinks are high in sugar and can cause or worsen diarrhea. In infants and children, the use of water as the primary replacement fluid should be avoided.
Moderate to severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids and hospital treatment. Here the doctor will try to identify and then treat the cause of the dehydration.
In most cases, viral bowel disease (also called viral gastroenteritis) usually resolves on its own after a few days.
See also: Diarrhea
With early detection and treatment, the result is usually favorable.
If untreated, severe dehydration can result in:
When to see a doctor
Call Emergency Medical Services (e.g. 103) if your child has any of the following symptoms:
Call your doctor right away if you or your child has any of the following symptoms:
Blood in stool or vomit
Diarrhea or vomiting (in infants <2 months)
Dry mouth or eyes
Dry skin that slowly returns to its original position when collected in a fold
Lethargy and lethargy
Little or no urine within 8 hours
Your child has a sunken fontanel
Call your doctor if you are unsure whether you are giving your child enough fluids.
You can also see a doctor if:
You or your child are unable to retain fluid during illness
Vomiting has been going on for more than 24 hours in an adult or more than 12 hours in a child
Diarrhea lasts more than 5 days in an adult or child
Your child is much less active than usual or irritable
You urinate or your child urinates much more than usual, especially if you have diabetes in your family or are taking diuretics.
Even when you are healthy, drink plenty of fluids every day. Drink more when it is hot or when you are exercising.
Watch carefully those who are ill, especially children and the elderly. If you think you have found someone with symptoms of dehydration, call your doctor before it develops. Start fluid replacement as soon as vomiting and diarrhea appear – DO NOT wait for signs of dehydration.
Always encourage the person who is sick to drink fluids. Remember that the need for fluids is higher with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. The easiest signs to monitor are diuresis – monitoring the frequency and volume of urine excreted (there should be no frequent trips to the toilet or frequent wet diapers).