Learn about water scarcity
Learn about water scarcity
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you drink. Common reasons include:
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women drink 92 fluid ounces (11.5 cups) per day and men drink 124 fluid ounces (15.5 cups) per day. Walking people, athletes and people exposed to high temperatures should increase their water intake to avoid dehydration.
When too much water is lost from the body, its organs, cells and tissues fail to function as they should, which can lead to dangerous complications. If dehydration is not corrected immediately, it can cause trauma.
Dehydration can be mild or severe. You can usually treat mild dehydration at home. Severe dehydration needs to be treated in a hospital or emergency care setting.
Risk factors for dehydration
Athletes exposed to direct sunlight are not the only ones at risk of dehydration. In fact, bodybuilders and swimmers are among the athletes who usually develop the condition. Strange as it may seem, it is possible to sweat in the water. The swimmers sweated a lot while swimming.
Some people are at higher risk of dehydration than others, including:
Outdoor workers who are exposed to excessive heat (eg welders, landscaping, construction workers and mechanics)
People with chronic conditions
Athletes (especially runners, cyclists, and soccer players)
Newborns and young children
People who live in heights
How does dehydration develop?
Your body loses water regularly through sweat and urine. If water is not replaced, you become dehydrated. Any situation or condition that causes the body to lose more water than usual leads to dehydration.
Sweating is part of your body’s natural cooling process. As you warm up, your sweat glands become active in an attempt to remove moisture from your body. The way it works is by evaporation.
As a drop of sweat evaporates from your skin, a small amount of heat builds up. The more you sweat, the more the vapor rises, and the colder you get. Sweating hydrates your skin and maintains the balance of electrolytes in your body.
The sweat you sweat consists mainly of salt and water. Excessive sweating can lead to dehydration as you lose a large amount of water. The technical term for excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis.
Diseases that cause persistent vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration. This is because vomiting and diarrhea can cause your body to excrete too much water.
These processes also deplete vital electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals used by the body to control muscle, blood chemistry, and organ function. These electrolytes are found in the blood, urine and other fluids in the body.
Vomiting or diarrhea can impair these functions and cause serious complications such as stroke and coma.
If you have a fever, your body leaks out of the surface of your skin in an attempt to lower your temperature. Often, a fever causes you to sweat so much that if you don’t drink enough to fill it, you may be dehydrated.
Urination is the body’s normal physiological way to flush out toxins from your body. Some conditions can cause chemical imbalances, which can increase your urine output. If you do not replace the excess fluid in the urine, you run the risk of dehydration.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Symptoms of dehydration depend on whether the condition is mild or severe. Symptoms of dehydration may begin to appear before dehydration is complete.
Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:
Low tear production
In addition to the symptoms of mild dehydration, severe dehydration is also the cause:
Lack of sweat production
Low blood pressure
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency. Get immediate medical attention if you are showing any of these signs and symptoms.
Children and older adults should be treated immediately, even if they are experiencing mild dehydration symptoms.
If a person of any age develops the following symptoms, seek emergency care:
Blood in the stool
Diarrhea for 3 days or more
Inability to keep fluids down
How is dehydration diagnosed?
Before starting any test, your doctor will diagnose any symptoms that you may have to rule out other conditions. After taking a medical history, your doctor will check your vital signs, including your heart rate and blood pressure. Low blood pressure and a fast heart rate can indicate dehydration.
Your doctor will check your electrolyte levels