Dehydration is a serious medical condition characterized by low levels of liquids taken in by the body. It’s a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have the right amount of fluids to function normally and when you’re unable to replace what you’ve lost.
Dehydration can occur in many different ways. The most common way to become dehydrated is by exercising or doing strenuous activities. Other reasons people may become dehydrated are vomiting, diarrhea, using laxatives, or taking medicines that inhibit fluid production.
Drinking water keeps your body healthy and functioning well throughout the day. To keep bodily functions on track, proper hydration is essential. Get yourself some pure, clean water and consume at least eight glasses of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
These are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you keep yourself hydrated:
- Flush out toxins: Drinking the right amount of water every day helps regulate your body’s fluid levels, keeping your blood pressure stable and eliminates harmful toxins from your kidneys and digestive system.
- Regulate body temperature: Water is essential in keeping your body cool after strenuous activities, when you have a fever, or exposed to a hot environment.
- Keeps skin supple: Keeping your body hydrated is the best way to have soft, moisturized skin.
- Overall wellness: Not only does dehydration cause harm to your muscles, but it can also lead to other serious medical issues, including high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. If you drink the right amount of fluids, it increases the lubrication between your bones, allowing your joints to move more freely. In addition to improving your joints, it also reduces swelling.
Although fluid loss is the most common reason people suffer from dehydration, there are several reasons that you should be concerned about if you’re thirsty and feel like you might not be able to drink as much as you once did. Any time you experience rapid, prolonged dehydration, you should seek medical attention right away. In some cases, this condition can be deadly, and immediate medical intervention is crucial to prevent fatalities. Understanding how dehydration occurs and what causes it will help you be better prepared to prevent it from happening.
Surprising Causes of Dehydration
In the case of infants or seniors, dehydration may be caused by various factors. Surprisingly, teething may cause dehydration in infants. Teething causes babies to release large amounts of water to calm their gums and prevent them from ripping or growing excessively.
These are the unexpected causes of dehydration:
Alcohol And Caffeine
Caffeine is known to be a diuretic. So, drinks that contain caffeine should never be given to someone who’s extremely dehydrated as caffeine can cause the water in your body to increase in volume. The increase in water can cause your body to become over-saturated with fluids, and the resulting condition is known as edema.
Excessive caffeine consumption can also cause nausea and vomiting. Therefore, it should be avoided while undergoing rehydration treatments. Caffeine-induced dehydration is similar to dehydration caused by alcohol because it can also cause your body to swell if consumed too much.
Other medications can also cause dehydration, mainly when it’s used over long periods. Some oral rehydration solutions and medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can contribute to this problem by interfering with how the brain typically uses glucose–a natural source of energy for the brain–increasing the level of acid in the stomach and decreasing the absorption of other nutrients.
Other drugs, such as antibiotics, can interfere with how the body digests food and uses other nutrients. Taking any of these drugs while pregnant can also lead to severe dehydration.
Pregnancy And Menopause
Pregnancy is another typical time when dehydration is a significant problem. Pregnant women may experience nausea and vomiting because of morning sickness–fluids can be lost quickly. In addition to pregnancy, breastfeeding mothers should also drink more water.
As a woman ages, her hormones change as well, which may cause night sweats and hot flushes that may cause dehydration if water intake is low.
The environment is very cold at high altitudes, causing the body to produce less moisture for hydration. The body also has to conserve energy, so it slows down the metabolism to conserve energy. When all these factors work together, the result is a reduction in urine output.
The brain compensates for the lowered urine output by increasing the heart rate and stimulating the nervous system. The constant need to replenish fluid is an effect of both physiological and psychological causes.
Other Factors That Increase Risks For Dehydration
There are other factors that increase the risk of dehydration such as:
- Gender: Women and individuals with weakened immune systems are more likely to become dehydrated than men.
- Smoking: Dehydration is only one of the damaging effects of tobacco and nicotine from cigarette smoking.
- Poor nutrition: In addition to increasing your daily water intake, you should also avoid particular food to keep your body from becoming dehydrated. Foods that have high sugar, salt, and preservatives can deplete you of valuable fluids.
Dehydration symptoms can include pale urine, increased thirst, lethargy, muscle fatigue, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, and increased hunger. If you or someone you know have these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to get a differential diagnosis of heatstroke.
You can prevent dehydration by consuming plenty of liquids, exercising regularly, staying cool and hydrated, watching what you eat, avoiding hot foods, and drinking plenty of water. It’s vital to be well-nourished so that the kidneys are able to perform to their maximum capacity. Avoid taking medications that deplete the kidneys or affect blood pressure and sodium levels.
Dehydration occurs in people of all ages, but it’s more common in kids and the elderly. Dehydration symptoms are generally mild and include burning thirst, a dry mouth, frequent urination, and fatigue. Although these symptoms may indicate that you don’t require treatment, you should contact your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any of them.
Dehydration can be treated in different ways, but you should see your doctor if you experience any severe symptoms. Dehydration can be prevented, and it’s easier than you think, so try drinking enough water throughout the day and exercise regularly. You can also visit your local hospital to determine what types of medical treatments are available for dehydration.