Dehydration refers to lack of enough water in the body, which can be caused by a number of factors. Mild to moderate dehydration can be easily reversed by drinking sufficient water or fluid.
Dehydration refers to the loss of excess water from the body. It refers to the deficiency of water in relation to other dissolved solutes. Along with water, several vital minerals called electrolytes are also lost, when you are dehydrated. Water accounts for almost 2/3rd of total body weight, and is present both within cells and in the intracellular spaces.
Dehydration is a condition when the level of water in the body gets reduced below the level required for carrying out the various vital processes. When water lost from the body is more than its intake, it results in dehydration. A considerable amount of water is lost from our body daily due to activities like breathing, sweating, and urination. So, we need to drink plenty of water in order to compensate this loss, and thereby prevent dehydration.
Deficiency of Water in the Body
Dehydration is easily recognized by symptoms like thirst, and a reduction in the volume of urine, or the discharge of dark yellow-colored urine. It also produces some other symptoms, such as dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, sunken eyes, lethargy, increased heart rate, and irritability.
In infants, a sunken fontanel (soft spot on the head) can be an important indicator of dehydration. In severe cases, dehydration can cause confusion and weakness due to a reduced supply of blood to the brain and other parts of the body. If left untreated, it can lead to coma and organ failure.
Diarrhea is one of the most common conditions that can cause the loss of excess fluid from the body. It is the second most common cause of infant deaths throughout the world. Sweating is a mechanism of cooling down the body, and thereby maintaining the body temperature. But excessive sweating can cause a significant loss of water from the body.
Vomiting, the expulsion of the stomach content through the mouth, can also cause the loss of a large amount of water from the body. Diseases like cholera, gastroenteritis, shigellosis, and yellow fever can be some other causes of dehydration. A large amount of water is expelled from the body while exercising, and performing any other kind of strenuous physical activities. Apart from these, victims of severe burns may also experience dehydration.
Treatment and Prevention
It can be easily prevented as well as treated by replenishing the loss of fluid by drinking plenty of water. Along with water, one can also take rehydration fluid or solutions, especially if dehydration is caused by diarrhea and vomiting. Rehydration solutions can help compensate the loss of water and important nutrients. Though dehydration can be easily treated with oral rehydration solutions, sometimes intravenous administration of fluid may also be required, depending on the severity of the condition.
Dehydration, if neglected can lead to serious conditions, especially in infants and young children. An important indicator of dehydration is the frequency of urination, and the nature of urine discharged. If the urine is dark yellow in color, or if the frequency or volume of urine reduces, then it can indicate that enough water is not present in the body. Whenever such signs or symptoms are observed, body fluid should be replenished by drinking water and other fluids that contain important electrolytes like potassium and sodium.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.