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Dehydration may seem like a common thing but may have serious consequences if left untreated. It can cause unconsciousness, coma, organ failure, and even prove to be fatal. When your body does not have enough fluid to properly function, it gives you warnings. In most cases it can be avoided by increasing water intake. However, there may not always be symptoms.
Dehydration is caused primarily by sweating too much, after exercising or if you are outdoors for a prolonged time in hot weather. Other causes include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and frequent urination. People who drink less amount of water or intake an insufficient amount of fluids experience dehydration.
People who suffer from heart condition, are overweight, have kidney disorders, diabetes, or are under the age of two, or over the age of 50 are more likely to have dehydration and must be extra careful.
Let’s look at the various dehydration symptoms:
Thirst and dry mouth
When you feel thirsty you are usually dehydrated. A dry mouth means you did not drink water for a long time. If you are feeling thirsty or have dry mouth, it is a sign that you must drink water. You should regularly drink adequate water to ensure that you do not reach this stage of thirst.
Lightheadedness and fatigue
When your body is dehydrated it compensates by constricting blood vessels. As your dehydration worsens, you will begin to experience lightheadedness, muscle cramps, and feel weak. You must immediately have water in a situation like this.
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are particularly bad signs because when you are dehydrated in the first place, these make your situation worse. A person who is vomiting will lose fluids from the body quickly and nausea will not allow you to consume fluids.
No sweating or urinating
Understanding your urine color is one of the best ways to determine if you are dehydrated. If your urine colour is darker, you will need to drink water immediately. However, if your body is no longer producing urine it is a sign to worry about. If your body stops sweating even when you are working out, it is a sign you are dehydrated and moving towards heat exhaustion.
People usually get easily irritated when they are experiencing dehydration. This is a particularly important warning sign for children as they may not be able to communicate or explain their condition.
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
A hydrated body is able to pump blood more easily throughout the body than a dehydrated one. Your heart actually has to work harder to provide oxygen across your body when dehydrated, which means the heart is going to beat much faster than usual and your lungs are going to need to take in more oxygen.
The appearance of sunken eyes is a sign of dehydration. You may notice a hollowing under your eyes, dark circles and tiredness all over your face. This is mostly a common sign in children and can cause lethargy and reduced responsiveness.
If a person starts exhibiting symptoms of delirium, including restlessness, unintelligible speech, and seeing illusions, it is a matter of serious worry and they require medical help. Extreme dehydration can result in this and is considered among the most severe symptoms. The body starts to shut down and permanent damage can occur. This could be life-threatening in older people.
Dehydration can lead to serious health complications, including:
- Heat injury: If you don't drink enough fluids while working out or when you are perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury. This results in mild heat cramps, extreme heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
- Urinary and kidney problems: Dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure if it occurs frequently and is not taken care of.
- Seizures: If your electrolytes are out of balance it can lead to a loss of consciousness.
- Low blood volume shock is one of the most serious complications of dehydration. It occurs when there is a drop in blood pressure and oxygen in your body.
To prevent dehydration, you must drink plenty of fluids and foods with high water content such as fruits and vegetables. People may need more fluids if they are experiencing conditions like vomiting or diarrhea. You should act when your body gives away the first signs and not wait until complete dehydration occurs. Drink more often after a strenuous exercise and in hot or cold weather, to replace the fluid loss through sweating.