Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, resulting in a lack of water and other fluids in your body to carry out its normal functions. You will become dehydrated if you do not replace lost fluids. Anyone can be dehydrated, but young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.
Severe diarrhea and vomiting are the most common causes of dehydration in young children. Older adults have a lower water volume in their bodies by nature, and they may have conditions or take medications that increase their risk of dehydration. Even minor illnesses, such as lung or bladder infections, can cause dehydration in older adults.
Dehydration can happen to anyone if you don’t drink enough water in hot weather, especially if you’re exercising vigorously. Mild to moderate dehydration can usually be reversed by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration necessitates immediate medical attention.
Signs of dehydration:-
Sweating is a natural cooling mechanism in your body. When you get hot, your sweat glands open up and release moisture from your body to cool you down. Evaporation is used to accomplish this.
When a drop of the sweat evaporates from your skin, it leaves behind a small amount of heat. The more sweat you produce, the more evaporation occurs, and the cooler you become. Sweating hydrates your skin and keeps your electrolyte balance in check.
Salt and water make up the majority of your sweat. Excessive sweating is known as hyperhidrosis in medical terms.
You may feel more tired than usual if you are dehydrated.
Dehydration affects every aspect of health, including your sleep-wake cycles.
A study involving over 26,000 Chinese and American adults discovered that shorter sleep duration was significantly associated with inadequate hydration. The person who was adequately hydrated slept longer than those who were not.
Dehydration can also make you feel tired during exercise. One small study involving 14 male athletes discovered that acute dehydration of 3.2 percent body mass increased fatigue perception and negatively affected exercise endurance.
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Dark coloured urine and low urine output
If you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine will be darker in colour, and you won’t pee as much.
Looking at the colour of your urine is thought to be a practical way to detect dehydration. Darker-coloured urine can occur when your body is conserving water and not releasing it into the urine. As a result, the urine becomes more concentrated with waste products from the body, such as sodium and urea.
The goal is not to have clear urine. Instead, the ideal urine colour is a pale yellow, similar to the colour of light straw.
Dry skin and lips, as well as decreased skin elasticity, are common symptoms of dehydration.
Dehydration may be contributing to your symptoms of dry skin, dry mouth, or cracked lips. Keep in mind that dry skin and cracked lips can be symptoms of various other health problems, so it’s critical to get a proper diagnosis, especially if you’re experiencing dry skin or cracked lips despite drinking plenty of water.
To assess a person’s hydration status, healthcare professionals frequently use a test known as the skin turgor test. The skin turgor test entails grasping the skin on the lower arm or abdomen between two fingers for a few seconds and then releasing it.
Low blood pressure
It is a symptom of dehydration that occurs only when a person is severely dehydrated. Dehydration impairs blood vessel function and blood pressure regulation, as previously stated. Low blood volume, or a lack of fluid circulating within your capillaries, veins, arteries, and heart chambers, is caused by dehydration.
When your blood volume drops, your body responds by increasing your pulse and respiratory rate while lowering your blood pressure.
Low blood pressure is a symptom of severe dehydration and can be life-threatening. Severe dehydration can cause a drop in blood pressure, shock, and even death.
So what is the Solution?
Take more water
The primary treatment for dehydration is to drink more water. Maintaining water levels and rehydrating the body can be as simple as taking small sips of water or other clear fluids at regular intervals.
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A study looked at how athletes performed after rehydrating after being dehydrated. After dehydration, the findings revealed that rehydrating could improve heat-stressed exercise performance for more extended periods. The athletes benefited from fluid intake, though the amount given was insufficient for complete rehydration and the body’s water level remained low.
Oral rehydration solution (ORS) is a powdered salt mixture that can be mixed with sterile water and consumed. It quickly replaces water and minerals that have been lost.
A study found that using ORS to treat dehydration caused by diarrhoea in the community, at home, or in a facility was effective.
Drink coconut water
Heat exhaustion is more likely in hot weather because it causes you to sweat profusely. While drinking water can help in this situation, coconut water, which is easily absorbed by the body, may be more effective and faster.
Coconut water can help you rehydrate if you’re dehydrated. It contains plenty of electrolytes, is low in calories, and has low sugar content. It’s also known for its hydrating properties.
According to one study, coconut water and sports drinks have similar health benefits.
Dehydration in younger children requires greater caution and a more conservative approach to treatment. While sports drinks can be given to older children to help them stay hydrated, they are not appropriate for toddlers and infants, who should only be given ORS.
Some children with severe dehydration, explosive diarrhea, or frequent vomiting, on the other hand, may not respond to oral rehydration therapy and will require intravenous fluid administration after being admitted to the hospital.
Overall, children should not be given any fluid that is not sugar-salt balanced, as this will aggravate their diarrhea. All examples are plain water, teas, soda, ginger ale, fruit juice, gelatin desserts, and chicken soup.
- Drink plenty of water (8–10 glasses of 8 ounces) every day. Stay hydrated, especially if you’re sick.
- When it’s hot and humid outside, drink more water to replace the water you’ve lost through sweating.
- If you’re dehydrated, stay in cool places and don’t exercise.
- When dehydrated and suffering from an illness such as gastroenteritis, avoid drinking coffee, soda, or any other sugary beverage. Caffeine can cause diarrhoea, and soda can irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
However, there isn’t much evidence suggesting that you shouldn’t drink coffee or soda unless you have a severe underlying condition if you’re mildly dehydrated.
- When you’re dehydrated, eat bland foods. If you feel dehydrated after strenuous physical activity, drink sports drinks.