Symptoms Of Dehydration
A Quick Guide to the Symptoms of Dehydration
Knowing the symptoms of dehydration can help to save someone’s life, or to know when it is time that an ill person receives medical attention.
Most of the human body consists of water, up to 75% of a person’s body weight will be water. Most of the water will be located in the body’s cells, the rest of the water will be found in the space outside of the body cells; this will include blood cells and the spaces between cells.
When dehydration occurs, what is happening is that there is more water leaving the body than is being taken into the body. The body will lose water in a number of different ways, such as during the simple process of breathing. When breathing, the human body breaths out humidified air; the body will also lose water through perspiration and with the process of urinating to eliminate waste.
To replace this loss of water from the body, it is necessary to drink a lot of water. If a sufficient amount of water is not put back into the body, the symptoms of dehydration will become apparent fairly quickly. The most common sign that the body is drying up and needs water is thirst.
There are several conditions that may cause dehydration, such as vomiting, diarrhea, a burn or sweating too much. In addition to these problems, certain illnesses can cause dehydration, such as diabetes, or an illness that would prevent someone from eating and drinking.
As already stated, one of the earliest symptoms of dehydration would be thirst, and the kidneys regulating the amount of water output. This will be obvious if the urine is strong with a deeper yellow coloring.
As the level of the body’s water loss worsens, some of the symptoms of dehydration to look for would include,
- A dry mouth
- Dry eyes that are not making tears
- Not perspiring
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Becoming lightheaded, especially when trying to stand
- Heart palpitations
When the amount of fluid in the blood is decreasing, the heart must work harder to pump enough blood to provide oxygen to the body; this will also cause the constriction of blood vessels so that the body can maintain an adequate blood pressure. If dehydration continues, this natural safety mechanism of the body will begin to fail.
Eventually the body will experience other symptoms of dehydration such as confusion and weakness because the brain is not getting enough blood. Left untreated, dehydration will lead to organ failure and coma.
In most cases, dehydration will be diagnosed as a result of another condition or illness, which is likely causing the hydration in the first place. To determine if someone is dehydrated, the doctor may assess the person’s mental alertness, vital signs, and temperature. Additional methods of diagnosing dehydration may include a blood test to analyze the electrolytes present in the blood, as well as a urinalysis, to check for the urine concentration.
Preventing dehydration in the first place is the best method of dealing with this medical problem, but when the symptoms of dehydration are present, there are a number of different methods used to treat the condition. If trying to prevent or treat dehydration at home you can try giving the patient broths, water, popsicles, as well as drinks such as Pedialyte, and Gatorade. If the person is unable to take liquids by mouth, an IV may be used to hydrate the patient.
Dehydration can often be treated at home, as long as it is recognized in its early stages, and the dehydrated person can take liquid orally. If the symptoms of dehydration indicate an advanced level of water loss, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible.