Dehydration in adults

Dehydration in adults is a condition that can occur when loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount taken in by drinking.

Clinically, dehydration means that a person has lost such an amount of body fluids that it results inability of the body to function normally and in this connection symptoms related to the loss of fluid begin to appear.

Although babies and children are at high risk of dehydration, many older people, especially those in old age, are also more likely to become dehydrated.

People lose water daily in the form of water vapor when exhaling, as well as through sweat, urination and faeces. Along with the water, small amounts of salts and electrolytes are lost.

The human body constantly adjusts the balance of water, salt and electrolyte losses by inducing thirst, which prompts us to drink fluids to quench it.

When we lose too much fluid our body goes out of balance or becomes dehydrated. Most doctors divide dehydration into 3 stages – mild, moderate and severe.

Mild and even moderate dehydration can be reversed or the body can be returned to a state of balance only by oral intake of fluids containing electrolytes or salts that we have lost, for example, during sports.

But if we don’t pay attention and do not take timely measures to get fluids, in some cases of moderate to severe dehydration it can even lead to death.

What are the symptoms

Signs and symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Mild to moderate dehydration can cause the following:

• Unusually strong thirst;
• Dry mouth;
• Drowsiness and fatigue;
• Decreased amount of urine output;
• Urine is more yellowish than usual;
• Headache, dry skin and dizziness;
• Little or no tears;

The above-mentioned manifestations of the condition can very quickly worsen and develop severe dehydration, which is expressed in:

• A greatly reduced amount of urine or complete absence of urination. If there is urine at all, it is highly concentrated with a dark yellow or amber color.
• Dizziness or lightheadedness that prevents the affected person from standing or walking normally.
• Blood pressure drops when a person tries to stand up when they have been lying down. The condition is referred to as orthostatic hypotension.
• Rapid heartbeat and feverishness.
Reduced skin elasticity – when pinched, the skin returns too slowly to your usual position.
• Fatigue, confusion or coma;
• Seizures
• Shock;

Treating dehydration

If you are severely dehydrated, you can try to get fluids in the following ways:

• Sip small amounts of water;
• Drink beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes. Sports drinks are a good choice.
• Suck on ice cubes;
• You can drink through a straw if, for example, you have canker sores or have recently had jaw surgery; p>

Try to cool down if, for example, you are exposed to heat or have an elevated temperature in the following ways:

• Remove excess clothing and loosen if you have a belt and any other items that could be constricting.
• It is best to go to a place that is air-conditioned and the temperature is 24-25 degrees Celsius, so your body temperature will normalize;
• If there is no air-conditioned room nearby, you can go somewhere in the shade if you are outside and put a wet towel on the face.
• If possible, use a cold spray and spray it on the exposed parts of the skin.

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