Do you often have a parched throat or feel tired at all times? Then you are most likely a victim of dehydration.
While drinking lots of water or glucose can immediately restore a tired body, a case of severe dehydration often requires medical help.
What is dehydration?
According to recent studies, dehydration is a commonly occurring problem in 17–28% of older adults in the US.
Dehydration refers to a medical condition that occurs when the body loses excess fluids and electrolytes faster. Around 60% of the body contains water. It is essential to maintain a proper water content for the body to perform normal functions.
A mild to moderate dehydration can be treated by drinking more fluids or natural home remedies. A severe case may be dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration often vary according to a patient’s age. Dehydration in kids commonly causes:
- Dry mouth and throat
- Crying without tears
- Empty diapers for hours
Dehydration in adults may result in:
- Less urination
- Dry skin
- Bad breath
- Excessive Thirst
Causes of severe cases of dehydration
A severe case of dehydration is an emergency medical situation. If treatment is delayed, it may give rise to life-threatening health problems in an individual.
Children, pregnant women, and senior citizens are more prone to serious health issues caused by dehydration.
You can get seriously dehydrated due to:
- Prolonged exposure to excessive heat: It causes heavy sweating and can make your body lose water quickly.
- Vigorous exercising: It pumps your heart faster, makes you sweat profusely, and gets dehydrated.
- Any illness like diarrhoea or vomiting can reduce body fluids and make you tired and weak.
- Heavy medication for diseases like blood pressure may cause a severe case of dehydration.
Symptoms of severe dehydration and ways to handle them
You may lose more than 10% of your body weight by excessive fluid loss. Here are a few cases of severe dehydration you should not ignore.
Infrequent urination or change in urine colour
It is the most common symptom of dehydration in adults and children of all ages. The urine colour in normal people is pale yellow. Dark-coloured urine or failure to urinate at regular intervals is a symptom of dehydration.
Such cases are treated with oral fluid replacement like Pedialyte. It is available in packets and is given after mixing with water.
Gulping down a bottle of water at one may do more harm to a patient. Sipping small quantities of water or replacement solutions is recommended. This method is called oral rehydration therapy.
Severe diarrhoea and vomiting
A severe case of loose motions and vomiting may leave you completely tired and drained out of energy. Oral medications do not work in such serious medical cases.
Medical treatment of severe dehydration needs intravenous rehydration (IV). Here, an electrolyte solution is injected directly into the patient’s body through the circulatory system.
An experienced doctor may decide the quantity and composition of the saline solution depending on the severity of dehydration.
Doctors conduct blood and urine tests to check your kidney and bladder condition in a severe dehydration case.
Change in skin texture and colour
Checking skin elasticity is the best way to determine the level of dehydration in a patient. You can develop dark and dry skin problems if dehydration is not treated on time.
You should immediately seek medical help when you experience poor skin turgor.
Severe headaches and dizziness
Over-the-counter medications cannot treat a severe case of headache and dizziness.
With severe dehydration, you may experience trouble communicating and concentrating on normal tasks.
You can try eating cucumber, bananas, tomatoes, and other foods with high water content to replenish your body with fluids. It is recommended to seek medical help if you’re unable to stand steady or move.
Fast heart rate
The heart pumps faster after a heavy workout session or physical work. If it doesn’t lower back soon to an average pace, it may be a case of severe dehydration.
Sudden reduction in body fluids may result affect normal functioning in the heart. It can result in fatal conditions like a heart attack or a stroke.
Visiting your nearest medical centre can help avoid any adverse medical conditions.
Severe dehydration may also cause a sudden fall in body temperature and result in hyperthermia and chills. It is advisable to see an experienced doctor who handles any case in children or adults.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet with proper intake of food and water can help prevent dehydration. It is essential to stay hydrated for the right.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.