You may have heard of it, but do you really understand what dehydration is and the dangers it poses? This illness is notable for its low body water content, but it may also be accompanied with a significant deficiency of vital minerals and bodily fluids required for sustaining proper biological activities.
This shortage may be caused by a variety of circumstances, just as dehydration can have varying degrees of severity.
Learn more about this condition, its various causes, both habitually and in the case of disease, and what treatments are effective in treating dehydration.
What is dehydration?
In general, dehydration is an insufficiency in the amount of water stored in the body, mostly caused by the absence of replenishment of this fluid in a proportion equal to or more than that required for the body’s basic activities.
When the brain detects a decrease in retained water, it enhances the sense of thirst as a signal to consume fluids to replenish what is being expended or expelled. Thus, it may be concluded that intense thirst is an indication of dehydration.
If the issue is not handled and the individual continues to consume inadequate amounts of water or no water at all, the situation will develop and the body will limit the evacuation of liquids, leading the individual to cease sweating and pee less.
At this moment, in order to maintain appropriate blood flow without excessive thickening and volume reduction, the body might extract water from the cells to satisfy this demand.
When this situation develops, the body’s functions become even more insufficient, toxins collect, blood pressure might drop, and fainting or acute pain is a possibility. Continued extreme dehydration may lead the body to enter a state of shock and cause organ damage.
However, the danger also affects the brain, which may result in mental disorientation, coma, and death.
In general, children are more sensitive to dehydration since, if not encouraged, they will not drink enough fluids. Additionally, the elderly have a reduced water content in their bodies and do not often restore what is lost, which increases the prevalence of this condition.
What causes dehydration?
Now that we understand what dehydration is, we can determine its primary causes. First, there is a lack of proper fluid replenishment, particularly water, which offers hydration and many vital nutrients.
In this instance, there is a difference between what is expended and what is removed by the excretory system, in proportion to what is consumed in liquids and food. The body removes water through faeces, urine, perspiration, and even respiration.
This sort of dehydration is frequent in children and the elderly, but it may also occur in those who engage in physical activity but do not consume enough water to replenish what is lost during exercise.
In a different case, sickness causes dehydration. In this instance, any condition that produces diarrhoea, vomiting, or even fever raises the risk of dehydration since these symptoms increase the rate of water loss.
Changes in the endocrine system may also increase water loss and the danger of dehydration, as is the case with persons who sweat profusely or who have diabetes and use diuretic medications, which increase the frequency of toilet visits.
Does the flu cause dehydration?
The flu may induce dehydration, which is directly tied to the onset of fever, which is one of its most prevalent symptoms.
Due to the rise in body temperature, more sweat is produced. In addition, pain reduces our desire to consume liquids and meals when we have the flu, making it harder to replenish fluids.
Due to these factors, the flu poses a danger of dehydration, necessitating special care during treatment, and making the consumption of water and foods rich in liquids a priority for recovery.
How can I determine whether I am dehydrated? How is a diagnosis determined?
We may continue with the severity grading of this ailment after identifying dehydration. In a moderate case, the individual may experience extreme thirst and a dry mouth.
As dehydration progresses to intermediate levels, you may notice reduced sweating, decreased urinary frequency, urine with a darker hue, headaches, weakness, sleepiness, vertigo, and even a drop in heart rate.
In cases of extreme dehydration, these symptoms grow more severe, manifesting as a decrease in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and even coma.
It may be essential to do blood, stool, and urine tests to determine the condition’s nature and severity. In addition to observing skin elasticity and mucosal colour, the physician must also take into account a variety of other criteria.
What is good for dehydration?
And what is beneficial for treating dehydration? The obvious solution is to drink water, but this must be done with caution.
In mild or severe instances, it is advisable for children, adults, and the elderly to take modest sips of water at short intervals. In this manner, the body will be able to absorb the fluids and will progressively rehydrate.
If a person is dehydrated and consumes a large amount of water at once, they may experience nausea and even vomit, which causes more fluid loss and exacerbates the illness.
There are other oral rehydration treatments, which may be purchased without a prescription from pharmacies. In addition to the liquid, they include a significant number of electrolytes, which assist to replenish these components.
In more severe situations, particularly when this stage is reached rapidly owing to a health condition, intravenous administration of serums or aqueous solutions, often salt- and energy-rich solutions, may be required.
It is also important to note that, in this situation, oral water intake is often halted to prevent stomach pain and reduce the risk of vomiting.
Prevent dehydration: drink water!
Drinking water is a straightforward method for preventing dehydration. Ideally, you should consume at least two litres of water every day, and you should raise that amount if you engage in vigorous activities that enhance sweat.
You may vary your fluid consumption with juices, teas, and the like in addition to water, but you must be mindful of the content and nutritional value of each beverage.
If you notice that your mouth is becoming dry and you feel thirsty, drink at least a little amount of water to avoid aggravating the condition. In addition, on really hot days, search for methods to cool down to minimise perspiration.
Don’t forget to advise youngsters and the elderly to hydrate, since they are more susceptible to dehydration and its associated problems.