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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Dehydration: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

When body loses more water, other fluids and salt than it takes in, dehydration occurs. As fluids help the blood to travel to organs, without these the homeostasis of the body gets lost. Its ability to perform day-to-day functions gets affected badly. Severe dehydration may lead to serious health complications and even death. The present blog talks about the symptoms of mild, moderate and severe dehydration, along with the causes and tips for the prevention of dehydration.

Water in the body gets lost every day in the form of water vapour in our exhalation breathing process. Sweat, urine and stool also cause depletion in water content in the body. Salts are also lost along with water. Though loss of water is a natural phenomenon, but when loss of water becomes more than intake of water, our body becomes out of balance or dehydrated. Severe dehydration may even lead to death.

Symptoms of Mild Dehydration
Ø Dry mouth and sticky saliva
Ø Colour of urine becoming dark yellow
Ø Increased thirst
Ø Lethargic behaviour

Symptoms of Moderate Dehydration:

Ø Extreme thirst
Ø Dryness inside mouth and eyes
Ø Damp amber or brown urine, decreased urination
Ø Lightheadedness
Ø Arms or legs becoming cool
Ø Rapid heartbeat
Ø Muscle cramps
Symptoms of Severe Dehydration:
Ø Change in behaviour
Ø Faintness not cured by lying down
Ø Inability to walk or stand
Ø Fast breathing
Ø Weak, rapid pulse
Ø Cold sweaty skin or hot dry skin
Ø A little or no urination for 12 or more hours
Ø Loss of consciousness

Causes of Dehydration:
Ø Diseases, such as diabetes
Ø Too much exercise, or heat exposure, fever
Ø Infection induced increased urination, diarrhea, vomiting
Ø Injuries to skin, such as burns or mouth sores, or severe skin diseases that invoke water loss due to damaged skin
Ø Side effects of some medications may cause dehydration, such as blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, chemotherapy, diuretics, laxatives, psychiatric medicines, etc.
Tips for the Prevention of Dehydration

Ø Drink plenty of water/dehydration drinks before you leave your house
Ø Drink lots of water before, during and after exercise
Ø Encourage your child to take extra fluids
Ø Avoid the diet that is high in protein. If you have already taken it, drink at least 8-12 glasses of water every day
Ø Avoid taking any salt tablet and extra salt in your lunch/dinner or breakfast. Instead, take sports drink if you are willing to replace minerals lost through sweating.

                                                       -----Ashish Jha

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