Dehydration can catch many people by surprise during various activities. Your body may lose fluid from excessive sweating, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination or other physical obstacles. Older adults and diabetic patients are at a greater risk of dehydration.
There are two main forms of dehydration, moderate and severe dehydration. Some common signs and symptoms of moderate dehydration include:
- Thirst. Due to hypertonicity which stimulates thirst and compensation (ADH release). Elevations in the hormones ADH, Angiotensin II, and aldosterone promote sodium and/or water conservation during dehydration.
- Dry mouth.
- Muscle Cramps. Due to overheating of the muscle groups and/or deficiencies in electrolytes.
- Concentrated Urine. Due to the kidneys ability to absorb more water when the body is facing a deficit, thus making highly concentrated urine.
- Dehydration headache.
Some common signs and symptoms of severe dehydration include:
- Dry, shriveled skin. Dehydration causes a decrease in blood volume which leads to very dry skin.
- Shock. Due to a lack of blood flow through the body.
- Unconsciousness, delirium. Since the brain sits inside a fluid sack it is protected from bumping against the skull. However, when dehydrated, the fluid sack can become depleted or decreased in size, allowing the brain to push against parts of the skull and the brainstem.
- Sip water or suck on ice cubes.
- Drink water or sports drinks that contain electrolytes (Be careful not to drink too much water as this can lead to further complications).
- Do not take salt tablets. They can cause a serious complication.
- Learn to properly eat and drink if diarrhea occurs.