Dehydration: Its Causes & Prevention
Dehydration occurs when our body loses more fluid than it gets. By consuming more fluids, mild to moderate dehydration can be cured. Serious risks from severe dehydration include shock and Pre renal acute kidney injury. The risk of dehydration rises when the weather is hot and humid. Body temperature may rise. As a result, requiring higher fluid intake.
Major part of the human body contains water; thus, maintaining this balance is vital for good health. Water is essential for several biological processes, including controlling body temperature, carrying nutrients, and aiding in waste removal. If you suspect that you or someone you love may be dehydrated, it's important to get medical attention. Dehydration may happen when the body loses more fluids than it gets.
How Do You Know If You're Dehydrated?
Dehydration rarely occurs suddenly. Sometimes, your body will give you signs you need to be aware of. Being very thirsty is the most noticeable. But there are other indicators to watch out for as well. Here are a few:
Causes of Dehydration
Dehydration can occasionally happen for simple causes like not getting enough water. But symptoms of dehydration might be triggered by other, more severe factors. These are as follows:
- Extreme fluid loss, including the loss of water and electrolytes, can happen quickly due to the sudden emergence of severe and acute diarrhea. Additional fluid and mineral loss results if you are also vomiting, on top of the various issues described. Dehydration is an inevitable outcome of this.
- Dehydration often goes hand in hand with a high fever. Along with fever, dehydration might worsen if you vomit and suffer from diarrhea.
- Another way the body loses water and expels toxins is through sweating. You risk getting dehydrated if you sweat excessively before consuming enough water to replenish the lost fluid. When it's hot and humid outside, this happens faster.
- Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes may lead to an increase in the frequency of urination. This results in a loss of more fluids than the body should eject. Certain medications, like those used to control blood pressure, also heighten the frequency of urination, resulting in dehydration.
How Much Water Should We Drink Every Day To Stay Hydrated
The amount of fluid you require each day may vary according to your gender, level of exercise, fitness level, weather, and any underlying medical issues. The general recommendation is to drink around half of your body weight in ounces (in pounds). For comparison, a 200-pound adult needs 100 ounces of water each day. Your requirement for water will depend on how active you are, as was already indicated. As a result, you should increase your regular water intake by about 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise. If an average healthy person needs to use the restroom every two to four hours and their urine is light yellow, they drink enough.
Dehydration in Pregnancy
For a healthy pregnancy, pregnant women must drink enough water. Pregnant women need extra fluids to stay hydrated, and illnesses like morning sickness can worsen the problem. Dehydration that is too severe might cause heart palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting, decreased amniotic fluid levels, and a higher chance of experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Pregnancy And Water Intake
The recommended daily fluid intake is three liters (eight to twelve glasses). Rather than consuming a lot of water at once, try sipping it throughout the day. For every hour of light exercise you do, add another glass of water. To make up for the fluid that loses from sweat in the summer, you will need to consume even more liquids. Don't let your fear of retaining water stop you from drinking water and other fluids.
Interestingly, not drinking enough can lead to fluid retention as your body will retain more fluid if it detects that it is getting dehydrated. The color of your urine is the most significant indicator of whether you are thirsty, and it ought to be colorless or light yellow. You should drink more water if your urine is dark. Call your doctor if you have dizziness that doesn't go away and have decreased urination despite drinking water.
Drinks Safe to Consume During Pregnancy
It's normally recommended that you avoid alcohol and limit caffeine during pregnancy. Additionally, it's essential to stay hydrated; therefore, it's advised to drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages. Water, milk, coconut water and 100% fruit juices are some fluids that are safe to drink during pregnancy. To get specific instructions, it's always advisable to talk with a physician.
What Drinks Can I Avoid During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is important to avoid certain drinks that may adversely affect the health of the mother and the developing fetus. Some of the drinks to avoid during pregnancy include:
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can lead to a range of health problems for both the mother and the baby, including fetal alcohol syndrome.
High caffeine consumption in pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage & low birth weight in newborns.
Some herbal teas, such as comfrey and pennyroyal, can harm the developing fetus.
Energy drinks contain high caffeine and other preservatives, which can be dangerous for pregnant women.
Regular consumption of soft drinks during pregnancy can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of gestational diabetes.
It is always best to consult your doctor for specific dietary restrictions or precautions during pregnancy.
Dehydration in the Elderly
Older adults may need constant and frequent reminders to drink water regularly. Older adults who are constantly dehydrated may experience disorientation, dry skin, headaches, low blood pressure, digestive issues, and constipation. Severe dehydration over time might lead to organ failure.
Elderly people are more likely to get dehydrated due to the following:
- Declining kidney function
- Hormonal changes
- Not feeling thirsty
- Chronic illness
- Limited mobility
Dehydration in Children
Children are particularly susceptible to dehydration when they are ill. A newborn or young kid can quickly become dehydrated due to vomiting, fevers, and diarrhea. This may endanger a child's life. It's essential to monitor children's water intake. If children are dehydrated, consult a doctor or immediately take them to the hospital. Dehydration in a child can cause the following symptoms:
- Cold Skin
- Dry mouth
- Sunken fontanelle on the skull
- A blue tinge of the skin as circulation of blood slows.
How To Tell If You Are Dehydrated: The Skin Test(skin turgor test)
Pinching the skin on the top or back of your hand can quickly check whether you should drink more water. You are less likely to dehydrate if your skin returns to a quick, smooth position. If your skin slowly goes back flat to your hand and leaves a crease for a few seconds, it's probably time to find some water.
How To Prevent Ourselves From Getting Dehydrated?
You should anticipate the need for increased fluid intake. Do the following to prevent dehydration:
- Avoid working out when it's hot; choose days when it's a little cooler. This can reduce your stress and keep you from being dehydrated.
- When going out, try to wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothes.
- Carry water to all outdoor events, especially if you plan to exercise and sweat a lot, as this can cause fluid loss.
- Reduce your alcohol intake since it makes it harder to detect the early indications of dehydration.
- Infants and older kids need to consume enough water for proper fluid maintenance. When your child first exhibits sickness symptoms, you should give them more water or an oral rehydration solution. Dehydration should not be delayed.
What drinks, besides water, are a good source of hydration?
Milk and juices are excellent sources to ensure your hydration levels are where they need to be. Almost anything with a high water content will work. If you don't enjoy the flavor of water, consider enhancing it with flavored powders.
Lemons and limes are also excellent for changing the flavor while ensuring you still get your recommended daily dose. Make sure that the booster you select has a low sugar content. Cucumbers are 96% water. Eating cucumbers adds to the body's daily water needs, keeping us hydrated. This is useful during the summers when we tend to dehydrate ourselves easily. Cucumber also acts as a refrigerant, providing us with relief from summer heat.
In conclusion, dehydration is a common condition for various reasons. It is important to be aware of dehydration's symptoms and take steps to prevent it by drinking enough fluids. If you suspect that you or someone you know is dehydrated, it is important to seek medical attention. By being mindful of our water intake and taking steps to prevent dehydration, we can maintain optimal health and avoid the serious complications that can occur with severe dehydration.