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Dehydration is not something uncommon. It means your body is deprived of adequate amount of fluid to function normally. This happens when your fluid intake is very less or the water lost from your body is lesser than the amount you consume.


Symptoms of dehydration

Anyone can get dehydrated and you can figure it out from the following symptoms:

  • Tend to feel thirsty very frequently
  • Dryness in mouth and tongue
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Headache, confusion
  • Lack of sweating
  • Laziness, tiredness and exhaustion
  • Concentrated and yellow tone of urine
  • Decreased urine output

Infants and children can also get dehydrated. They tend to get cranky but experience no tears while crying along with low volume of urine.

In adults and old people, dehydration can also induce palpitations.


Causes of dehydration

Your cells excrete water and salts through sweat and urine and you restore the balance by drinking water. When this balance is not maintained properly, your cells stop functioning normally which is why you experience the aforementioned symptoms.

Reasons behind dehydration are:

  • Not drinking enough water throughout the day
  • High fever
  • Exposure to too much heat- summer season, working under sun, travelling in dry weather, etc.
  • Too much exercise or physical exertion
  • Increased urination due to diabetes, urine infection, etc.
  • Side effect of diuretic pills
  • Excessive vomiting and diarrhea


Complications of dehydration

Severe diarrhea can have several health complications. It can lead to heat stroke and cause swelling in the brain. Lack of water in body results in electrolyte imbalance which might further trigger seizures and hypovolemic shock.

Under worst circumstances, severe dehydration could prove fatal as well.


When to see a doctor

If you have realized that you are not drinking enough water, then rehydrate your system immediately. Do not delay to seek medical help on experiencing fever, vomiting, loose motions, weakness etc.


Diagnosis of dehydration

Your doctor will check the symptoms that you are experiencing and then measure your vital signs like blood pressure, heart beat and breathing. Your blood pressure tends to fall on being dehydrated.

Your doctor might also advise you to undergo blood test to check electrolyte balance of sodium and potassium, BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine test for evaluating the function of kidneys.

Urine tests are also recommended to check its concentration, presence of infection or any other abnormalities.


Treatment of dehydration

Rehydrating your body is the first line of treatment. Therefore, your doctor will give you OTC rehydrating drinks that you need to consume at frequent intervals. You might also be retained in the hospital for initializing IV lines. This way water balance of your body will be restored.

Your doctor will give you other medicines depending upon the condition you are suffering from.  


Home care for dehydration

  • Keep an account of your water intake. You must consume at least 4 liters of water daily.
  • Continue having the electrolyte drinks unless your regain energy. Drink plenty of fruit juices as well.
  • Avoid drinking coffee, black tea, colas and alcohol as they drain water from your body
  • Stop exercising for a few days until you regain your energy and vitality
  • It’s strictly advised to not expose yourself to heat or sun immediately if you suffered a heat stroke. Take ample precautions before stepping out.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 14, 2014

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