Overview of Dehydration
Dehydration is a condition where the body loses more water than it has consumed. This means the body’s normal function is impaired. Dehydration is caused by a number of factors, these can range from environmental, to situational, or even certain illnesses.
For instance, diarrhoea can instigate severe dehydration. A sore throat can make drinking fluids very uncomfortable, an excessively hot weather can induce mild dehydration. Even a busy work schedule can make you forget that you are thirsty. Mild and moderate dehydration can be treated with the consumption of water or over-the-counter oral rehydration solutions. Severe dehydration needs to be treated as a medical emergency and essential fluids and electrolytes are replaced intravenously.
Causes of Dehydration
Dehydration is mainly caused due to less intake of water or excessive loss of water. Following are the additional causes of dehydration:
- Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea prevents the large intestine from absorbing water from the food matter.
- Vomiting: This also leads to a loss of liquids and prevents replacement of fluids.
- Sweating: A large amount of water is released from the body during hot and humid weather as the body’s cooling mechanism.
- Diabetes: High sugar level increases urination, and consequently, fluid loss.
- Burns: The blood vessels get damaged due to which the fluid leaks into the surroundings.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
- Very little urine
- Cold and dry skin
- Leg cramps
Severe dehydration symptoms include:
- No urine or extremely low volumes of urine
- Very dark yellow urine
- Inability to sweat
- Extreme thirst
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Deep set, darkened eyes
- Irregular heartbeat
- Mental confusion
In conclusion, dehydration is not a life-threatening condition if the body can replenish lost fluids and electrolytes soon. But prolonged dehydration can cause life-threatening complications and medical intervention is required.
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