Dehydration Symptoms

Your body naturally loses water through sweating, urinating, breathing, crying and saliva and you replace these lost fluids through drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. Dehydration occurs when your body puts out more fluids than what enters it. The human body is made up of about 75 percent water, so dehydration, even mild cases of dehydration will prevent your body from functioning properly, in severe cases, this can lead to failing organs, such as your kidneys. Understanding the symptoms of dehydration is essential for your health because in most situations dehydration can be reversed with an increase in water intake; however, if the problem is not addressed it can lead to serious medical complications.

Symptoms of Dehydration

The first symptoms of dehydration include an increase in thirst, decrease in urine output and darker urine. If you are dehydrated and you notice blood in your urine, it is critical that you seek medical attention immediately. It is important to know that dehydration may occur without thirst, especially in older adults. This is why it is critical that you drink plenty of water when you are sick or during hot weather. As the dehydration progress from mild to moderate, the symptoms typically include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy

Severe dehydration occurs when there is a loss of 10-15 percent of the body’s water. The symptoms of moderate dehydration will become extreme and you will experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Decrease or discontinued of sweating
  • Skin that appears dry and shriveled
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Delirium
  • Unconsciousness

It is important to know that dehydration may occur without thirst, especially in older adults. This is why it is critical that you drink plenty of water when you are sick or during hot weather.

It is important to understand that severe dehydration can be fatal. If you are experiencing signs of serious dehydration, it is extremely important that you seek medical attention immediately.

The symptoms of dehydration in children are often similar to the dehydration in adults, but may include:

  • A sunken fontanel (the soft spot on the top of their head)
  • Irritability
  • No tears while crying
  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No wet diapers for longer than 3 hours
  • Sunken eyes and/or cheeks

Prevention is the most important treatment for dehydration. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods that have a high water content, such as fresh fruits and vegetables are generally enough for most people to prevent the risk of dehydration. It is important that you stay alert during activities, during the hottest part of the day and when you are exercising; during these times, it is essential that you replenish your fluids. The elderly and young children are often at the most risk of becoming dehydrated, so it is essential that special attention be given to them by ensuring they receive enough water, especially during vulnerable situations.

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