Dehydration is the condition which occurs once there is a loss of the body fluids, especially water and exceeds the amounts that have been taken in. When it comes to dehydration, it means that there is more water that is moving out of the cells than the water we get into the body by drinking. We lose water each day in the form of vapor through breathing. We also excrete water in stool, urine and sweat. We also lose some amounts of salt.
When too much water is lost, bodies may be out of balance and become dehydrated. When it is too severe, death can occur.
The Cause of Dehydration in Adults
There are so many conclusions that can cause fluid loss and that can lead to eventual dehydration. They include:
- Diseases like diabetes
- Diarrhea, vomiting and infection causing an increase in urination
- Heat exposure, fever or a lot of exercise
- Lack of drinking water that is safe
- Impaired drinking ability like the case of a person on a respirator or a coma
- Inability to seek for food or water like in the case of a person who is disabled
- Injuries to skin that are significant such as because of mouth sores are very serious infections on the skin and diseases. The damaged skin may cause greater water loss.
Signs of Dehydration
They can be severe or very minor and can include:
- Swollen tongue, or dry mouth
- Increased thirst
- Decreased output of urine
- Inability to sweat
- Change in color of urine. If your urine is concentrated with a deep amber or yellow color, you may very well be dehydrated
When to Ask for Help
A doctor needs to be called if a person who is dehydrated has the following experiences:
- Decrease output of urine
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea going for over two days
- Fever that is above 101 degrees F
You need to take the person to an emergency room at the nearest hospital if the following happens:
- No urine in 12 hours
- Abdominal or chest pains
- Difficulty in breathing
- A fever that is above 103 degrees F
Exams and Tests
The doctor can perform some tests that are simple or he can send your urine or blood so as to be tested in a lab. Examinations and tests can help the doctor identify the cause or the causes that are leading to dehydration.
A fever, an increase in your heart rate, low blood pressure and fast rate of breathing can indicate dehydration and other kinds of illnesses. The pulse of a person in a lying position and after standing up can determine how far the dehydration has really gone.
Clarity and color of your urine and the gravity of urine can also help in knowing the degree of the dehydration. The presence of ketones signifies that you are dehydrated.
Self-Care in case of Dehydration
If you notice that a person is dehydrated even if they have been vomiting, you need to encourage them to take some fluids in the following ways:
- Sipping some small water amounts at a time
- Drinking some electrolyte/carbohydrate drinks. Sports drinks like Gatorade or some replacement solutions can be a great idea.
- Sucking of the popsicles that are made from sports drinks and juices
- Sucking on some ice chips
- Sipping something in a straw, especially for someone who has mouth sores or jaw surgery
In case of heat exposure, it is essential that you cool the person if the temperature is elevated. You will need to loosen the clothing and remove any excess. You can use air conditioned areas so as to return the body temperature to the normal levels and the break the heat exposure cycle. You can also place the person in a shade or near fans incase there is no air conditioning.