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Dehydration

The dehydration is a condition that can occur in people of all ages, especially during the summer. It is estimated that in the summer the percentage of the population at risk of dehydration reaches 70%. The causes that give rise to this disease are very diverse, although in the vast majority of cases they are related to bad habits: not drinking enough water, sunbathing for a long period of time in the central hours of the day … Symptoms more Common are headache, excessive sweating, tiredness, drowsiness, and rapid heartbeat.

In addition, it is estimated that about 45% of the population indicates that they wait to drink until they feel thirsty . It is important to change this habit since when the sensation of thirst appears it is because there is already a certain degree of dehydration. Thus, if the fluids lost by the body are not replaced, the body must turn to the fluid that is housed inside the cells, causing symptoms such as headache, weakness and fatigue.

What is it?

Dehydration is known as the disorder caused when the body loses more fluids than it takes in , so that it suffers from a shortage of water and other fluids. A critical situation since it prevents the proper functioning of the organs that make up the human body. Thus, it is essential to act quickly and replace lost fluids in order to avoid serious dehydration.

Although it can affect people of all ages, it is especially dangerous in the case of children and the elderly . In the case of the youngest, dehydration usually occurs as a result of a gastrointestinal illness that leads to diarrhea and vomiting. As for the elderly, they naturally have a smaller volume of water in their body, to which must be added the taking of certain medications that increase the risk of dehydration.

Mild or moderate dehydration can be reversed by drinking fluids. However, if it is serious, it is essential to seek urgent medical assistance.

Causes of dehydration

On certain occasions, dehydration occurs due to a very simple cause: the person does not drink enough water, which can be due to multiple causes, such as a certain disease or the practice of intense exercise in the central hours of the day during the summer season.

Next we indicate which are the main causes that give rise to this disorder.

  • Gastrointestinal diseases: Certain disorders that cause acute diarrhea and vomiting can cause a great loss of fluids and other nutrients in a short period of time. Loss of fluids and minerals is greater if vomiting and diarrhea occur at the same time.
  • Lack of hydration: in many cases dehydration is also caused by bad habits. It is estimated that 86% of the population does not drink the recommended two and a half liters of water per day; This is important for everyone, but especially for pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
  • Fever : fever is another of the most common causes of dehydration. Generally speaking, the higher the body temperature, the greater the degree of fluid loss. That is why when a child or an adult has a fever, it is advisable to lower the body temperature as quickly as possible.
  • Sweating: do not forget that sweating involves the loss of body fluids. Therefore, when carrying out any type of physical activity and the lost fluids are not compensated, the risk of dehydration is very high.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as diuretics or those intended to control blood pressure, cause increased urination, which can lead to dehydration if lost fluids are not replaced.
  • Diabetes : some diseases such as diabetes generate the need to urinate more frequently. Thus, it is important to drink water frequently and provide fluids to the body.

Symptoms of dehydration

No person has a meter that indicates in any way the need for water that his body has at all times. It is common, especially in children and the elderly, that they do not feel the need to drink liquids until dehydration has begun. That is why it is so important to drink water frequently , especially in hot weather.

As for the symptoms of dehydration, these vary significantly depending on age. In the case of babies and children , the most common are the following: dry mouth , crying without tears and not urinating for more than three hours. In addition, in the most severe cases of dehydration other signs may be present, such as sunken fontanelle, excessive irritability and sunken eyes.

Dehydration in adults results in the following symptoms: excessive s ed, less frequent urination, dark colored urine, confusion, tiredness and fatigue.

There are a number of signs that urgently require medical assistance; otherwise, within a short period of time certain organs may begin to fail, leading to collapse, and even death. It is considered as serious dehydration when people are irritable and disoriented, cannot retain any fluid in their body, and have blood in their stools or urine.

One of the main “disadvantages” of this disorder is that the symptoms in many cases are not noticeable until dehydration has made an appearance . Thus, it is important to take into account the recommended prevention measures to avoid dehydration.

Diagnosis and treatment

At the slightest suspicion of dehydration, especially in children and the elderly, it is important to see a doctor to establish the diagnosis and appropriate treatment . In the first place, he takes a clinical history of the patient, based on the signs he presents and his state of health.

One of the most common medical tests for the diagnosis of dehydration is the measurement of blood pressure ; generally, it is usually lower than usual when there is a lack of fluids in the body.

In addition, to confirm the degree of dehydration suffered by the patient, a blood test is performed to monitor electrolyte levels and kidney function. A urinalysis is also performed , which is decisive.

If dehydration is confirmed, the only treatment that is effective to combat this disorder is the replacement of lost fluids. For infants and children, it is sometimes necessary to give them a rehydration solution, which contains water and salts.

In the most severe cases, both salts and fluids are given intravenously. In this way the body absorbs them more quickly, thus accelerating recovery.

Complications

As we have noted, dehydration is a potentially serious disease, which can lead to complications that put the patient’s life at serious risk.

The heat injuries are common in certain groups during the summer and periods of intense heat. When you do not ingest enough fluids when you are doing physical activities that involve excessive sweating, muscle cramps, exhaustion, heatstroke may appear … Disorders that require urgent medical assistance.

When dehydration is prolonged in time without establishing the appropriate treatment, it is common for kidney problems to arise , such as kidney stones and urinary infections. In the most severe cases, kidney failure can occur.

The seizures are also relatively common in cases of severe dehydration. This is explained because electrolytes greatly help electrical signals to pass from one cell to the other; thus, if electrolytes are out of balance, involuntary muscle contractions and loss of consciousness may occur.

The most serious complication of all is what is known as hypovolemic shock , which puts the life of the person suffering from it at serious risk. It occurs when a low blood volume causes a decrease in blood pressure, as well as the amount of oxygen in the body.

Risk factor’s

All people are likely to become dehydrated. However, there are several groups that are especially sensitive to suffering from this disorder.

  • Babies and children: they are the population group most vulnerable to suffering from any type of gastrointestinal illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Thus, taking into account that the body surface of the smallest in relation to their weight is greater than in the case of an adult, children lose a greater proportion of liquid. You have to be very aware of them since babies cannot tell adults when they are thirsty.
  • Elderly: in the same way as children, the elderly are also one of the groups with the highest risk of suffering from dehydration. Its ability to conserve water is less as the years go by. This problem is aggravated by certain diseases typical of old age, such as diabetes or dementia.
  • Patients with chronic diseases: one of the pathologies that increases the risk of dehydration to a greater degree is uncontrolled diabetes. Certain kidney diseases also do it since they involve in many cases the consumption of drugs that cause frequent urination.
  • Athletes and outdoor workers: athletes, as well as those who do outdoor work, must pay special attention to hydrating their bodies, especially in hot weather.

How to prevent dehydration?

Dehydration is a relatively easy disorder to prevent if you follow a series of healthy habits and basic guidelines.

  • It is essential to drink between two and three liters of water daily . It must be done continuously and in small quantities. In addition to water intake, it is advisable to eat fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as melon or watermelon, for example.
  • When doing any physical activity or effort, it is important to increase the amount of water ingested, as well as pay attention to excessive fluid losses.
  • It is in no way advisable to rely only on the feeling of thirst. As we have pointed out, this usually appears when there is already a certain degree of dehydration in the body.
  • During the summer season, when the heat is very intense, you should increase your fluid intake and, in addition, as far as possible, stay in a cool and well-ventilated environment.
  • Of course, special attention must be paid to hydration of the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, infants and outdoor workers.

Conclution

In conclusion, remember that dehydration occurs when the body eliminates a greater amount of fluids than it takes in, thus preventing it from carrying out its functions normally. The main signal of dehydration transmitted by the body is thirst. However, it is not advisable to become thirsty as it is an indication that dehydration has already begun. Therefore, it is best to drink water relatively frequently, and opt for the consumption of foods rich in water.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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