Seventy-five percent of the weight of the body is made up of water. To enable the body to function properly, water is a critical element. Dehydration takes place when the quantum of water that the body loses is more than the quantum of water taken in by an individual. The loss of water from the body is an ongoing process due to one or more functions an individual is constantly engaged in like breathing and sweating. Water is also discharged from the body through urine and bowel movements for elimination of the waste products. One needs to drink water in adequate quantity to keep the momentum of the ever-changing dynamics of body. Most of the water is stored in the cells of the body.
Dehydration-note its arrival
The first sign is the body craves for more water. Decrease in urine output ensues. The body’s internal mechanism makes desperate efforts to preserve water. The color of urine turns yellow and it will become thick. With increased water loss, the condition takes turn for the worse. The following developments will happen to different parts of the body.
- Tears generation in the eyes stops.
- Sweating of the body ceases.
- Mouth turns dry.
- Muscles begin to cramp and develop strain.
- Vomiting and nausea
- Increase in the heartbeats—palpitation.
- Reeling sensation in the head
- Overall weakness of the body.
As the intensity of dehydration increases, the body desperately tries to maintain the cardiac output and as the amount of fluid in the intravascular space stands decreased, the body takes recourse to other measures to meet this decrease by increasing the heart beat rate and causing blood vessels constrict to maintain the level or blood pressure and keep supply of blood to the vital organs of the body. With further increase in the process of dehydration, this arrangement also fails.
At that stage the affected individual may land in a state of utter confusion and in that situation of total weakness, the brain and other important body organs will receive reduced supply of blood. If dehydration is not treated on emergent basis, it may lead to failure of organs that may lead to death.
Causes of dehydration
Diarrhea, vomiting, sweat, diabetes and burns are some of the important causes of dehydration.
- Burns: With the flow of fluid from the damaged part of the skin, the water content in the body stands reduced. Any inflammatory disease that results in fluid loss may lead to dehydration.
- Diarrhea: Excessive loss of water, the intake of water does not proportionally match to the loss, leads to dehydration. This disease significantly affects the children and more than 4 million children die each year due to dehydration.
- Vomiting: The loss of fluid is much in this state and it is difficult for the patient to replenish it, if one is averse to drinking liquids.450
- Sweat: The body may lose water in great quantity when it takes recourse to get cool by sweating. It may become hot due to various reasons like working in hot conditions, intense exercising or due to fever. In such conditions the body consumes lots of water to maintain its normal temperature and the quantity of water thus spent, needs to be supplied to the body.
- Diabetes: The early symptoms of diabetes are excessive thirst and frequent urination. The increase in the blood sugar levels causes the sugar to spill into the urine and this will lead to dehydration. 550
Solutions for dehydration
- Prevention is the best cure.
- Try oral rehydration with small quantity of fluids at regular intervals like water, popsicles, clear broths etc.
- Follow the advice of the health care practitioner as for the intravenous fluids.
- Medications for conditions of diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
- Alter the diet plan. Take more of rice, apple, and bananas. Add more items depending upon the acceptance by the body.
- The quantum of fluid depends on the weight of the patient.
- Those working in hot environments need to take special care to replace the loss of fluids.
- Don’t pause till thirsty. Take water art short intervals.
- Tender coconut water is highly beneficial.
- Among the fruit juices orange and carrot are good. Lime juice is also ideal.