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Dehydration

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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:
  • too much sweating
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • urinating too much
  • diabetes
References: 1, 2

Other Causes of Dehydration

The following are the less common causes of Dehydration:
  • you do not drink enough fluids because you are sick
  • you do not drink enough fluids because you are nauseated
  • you do not drink enough fluids because you have mouth sores or a sore throat
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
  • drink enough liquid during illness
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:
  • 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

Demographic Information - Dehydration

Following is the demographic information reported by website visitors for Dehydration. Information below may include patient demographics as well as data for website visitors who might be researching on behalf of patients e.g. parents for small children. The data below may or may not be reflective of the complete patient population demographics for this medicine/health topic.
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2 out of 3 users do not smoke.
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1 out of 1 users report being overweight.
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References

  1. MedlinePlus Dehydration https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  2. MAYO CLINIC Dehydration http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  3. Wikipedia Dehydration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehydratio... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  4. Lavizzo-mourey RJ. Dehydration in the elderly: a short review. J Natl Med Assoc. 1987;79(10):1033-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  5. MAYO CLINIC Dehydration http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condi... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  6. American Society of Clinical Oncology Dehydration http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-... - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
  7. Source: https://medlineplus.gov/dehydration.html

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 12/08/2017.
This page provides information for Dehydration in English.

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