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    When you're dehydrated, your body doesn't have enough fluid to work properly. An average person on an average day needs about 3 quarts of water. But if you're out in the hot sun, you'll need a lot more than that. Most healthy bodies are very good at regulating water. Elderly people, young children and some special cases - like people taking certain medications - need to be a little more careful.

    Signs of dehydration in adults include

    • Being thirsty
    • Urinating less often than usual
    • Dark-colored urine
    • Dry skin
    • Feeling tired
    • Dizziness and fainting

    Signs of dehydration in babies and young children include a dry mouth and tongue, crying without tears, no wet diapers for 3 hours or more, a high fever and being unusually sleepy or drowsy.

    If you think you're dehydrated, drink small amounts of water over a period of time. Taking too much all at once can overload your stomach and make you throw up. For people exercising in the heat and losing a lot of minerals in sweat, sports drinks can be helpful. Avoid any drinks that have caffeine.

    Symptoms of Dehydration

    The following features are indicative of Dehydration:
    • thirst
    • dry or sticky mouth
    • not urinating much
    • darker yellow urine
    • dry or cool skin
    • headache
    • muscle cramps
    • very dark yellow or amber-colored urine
    • irritability or confusion
    • dizziness or light-headedness
    • rapid heartbeat
    • rapid breathing
    • sunken eyes
    • listlessness
    • shock
    • unconsciousness or delirium
    References: 1

    Common Causes of Dehydration

    The following are the most common causes of Dehydration:
    • excessive sweating
    • fever
    • increased urination
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
    References: 1, 2

    Other Causes of Dehydration

    The following are the less common causes of Dehydration:
    • sore throat infections
    • dehydration due to ill conditions
    References: 1, 2

    Risk Factors of Dehydration

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of Dehydration:
    • infants and children
    • older adults
    • people with chronic illnesses
    • people who work or exercise outside

    Prevention of Dehydration

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent Dehydration. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • drink plenty of fluids daily
    References: 1

    Occurrence of Dehydration.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of Dehydration cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Very common > 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    Dehydration most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Can happen at any age

    Common Gender

    Dehydration most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 3, 4

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Dehydration

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Dehydration:
    • Physical exam: To check signs and symptoms of dehydration
    • Blood tests: To check the electrolytes level and kidney function
    • Urinalysis: To check signs of dehydration and also bladder infection
    References: 2

    Doctor for Diagnosis of Dehydration:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Dehydration:
    • Physician

    Complications of Dehydration if Untreated

    Yes, Dehydration causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Dehydration is left untreated:
    • permanent brain damage
    • seizures
    • can be fatal
    References: 1

    Procedures for Treatment of Dehydration

    The following procedures are used to treat Dehydration:
    • Administration of intravenous salts and fluids: To treat severe dehydration
    • Artificial hydration: Eliminates the symptoms of dry mouth and thirst
    References: 1, 3

    Self-care for Dehydration

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Dehydration:
    • Stay hydrated: Start hydrating the day before strenuous exercise: Helps in preventing dehydration
    • Hot or cold weather: Drink extra water in hot or cold weather to help lower your body temperature and combat moisture loss from dry air
    References: 5

    Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Dehydration

    The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Dehydration:
    • Suck on ice chips: In case of trouble drinking or eating, treats mild dehydration
    References: 6

    Time for Treatment of Dehydration

    While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Dehydration to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
    • Within 1 day
    References: 1, 3

    Questions - Dehydration

    Dehydration, i.e. a reduction in fluid volume, could theoretically lead to lower blood pressure if the body’s compensatory mechanisms were to fail.
    Put simply, blood pressure is the force of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. With all other variables remaining constant, a lower blood volume would lead to lower blood pressure. However, blood pressure is regulated and maintained by numerous processes in the body, namely the baroreceptor reflex and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). RAAS is also a major control system for fluid balance. In a healthy person, these mechanisms would react to dehydration and a drop in blood volume to maintain a normal blood pressure through a cascade of events.
    1. Sparks MA, Crowley SD, Gurley SB, et al. Classical Renin-Angiotensin System in Kidney Physiology. Compr Physiol. 2014 Jul; 4(3): 1201-1228. URL: Accessed April 22, 2018.
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    1. MedlinePlus Dehydration - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    2. Mayo Clinic Dehydration - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. Wikipedia Dehydration - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. Lavizzo-mourey RJ. Dehydration in the elderly: a short review. J Natl Med Assoc. 1987;79(10):1033-8. - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. Mayo Clinic Dehydration - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. American Society of Clinical Oncology Dehydration - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. Source:

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 6/21/2018.
    This page provides information for Dehydration.

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