Dehydration: All you should know

Meaning

Dehydration is a state of body when the amount of water present within, is quite lower than the amount required for a normal functioning of the body.
When the amount of water required by body, isn’t sufficient, it may lead to improper functioning of some parts of the body. One may also feel lethargy, headache or constipation.
Water is very important for proper functioning of body. 75% of human body is constituted of water.
Although our body releases water as we sweat, urinate or breathe. We can replenish it by the intake of fluids such as water and juices.
Most of the cases of dehydration can be treated by increasing the intake of liquids but in severe cases, visit to a medical practitioner may be required.

General Dehydration

General cases of dehydration are seen after vomiting, diarrhea and excessive sweating.
People at hills, athletes and elderly people are at higher risk of dehydration.
Early symptoms include dry mouth, dizziness and lethargy.
Later, symptoms like Dark Urine can indicate towards dehydration. If your body is hydrates enough, the urine would be clear. If it’s darker, it reflects dehydration.

Severe Dehydration

In case of severe dehydration, 10-15% of body’s water is lost.
The symptoms which one may feel when suffering from severe dehydration include:
Lack of sweating, low blood pressure, weakness, increased heart rate, dry skin, sunken eyes and unconsciousness.

Effects

If dehydration is left untreated or given due attention, it can lead to severe health issues.
These health conditions can include low blood volume, kidney diseases, seizures and heat injury.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be done by both physical tests and blood tests.
A doctor may look for symptoms like disorientation, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever, lack of sweat, and inelastic skin as a part of physical examination.
 And, may conduct blood test to check sodium, potassium, and other electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are chemicals that regulate hydration in the body and are crucial for nerve and muscle function. A urine analysis will provide very useful information to help diagnose dehydration. In a dehydrated person, urine will be darker in color and more concentrated – containing a certain level of compounds called ketones.

Prevention

Prevention of Dehydration is an important factor for a healthy body as water is essential to keep body active. One can prevent it by keeping a check on intake of fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices, coconut and lemon water etc. Extra care should be given to elderly people and infants during summers.

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Aastha Kochar

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