Dehydration Causes and Its Symptoms


Dehydration is a condition that occurs when water loss from the body exceeds the intake. This imbalance disturbs the salt and sugar levels in the blood, which hampers the body functions. The vital element which hydrates the body is water. Our body contains nearly 75% water, and we cannot survive without it. In our daily routine, we lose water while breathing, sweating, and urinating. In case the water loss is not replaced, dehydration occurs, which prompts a deficiency of electrolytes and water.

Symptoms of Dehydration:

Initial Signs of DehydrationModerate DehydrationSevere Dehydration
Feeling lightheaded or dizzyHeadacheIncrease in heart rate
Intense thirstDry mouthLack of sweating, Unconsciousness
Reduction in frequency of urineMuscle weaknessFever and Sunken eyes
Concentrated urine that is dark in color and strong in smellLethargyLow blood pressure, Wrinkled and dry skin

The final stage is severe dehydration when the body loses 10 to 15% of water.

The dehydration symptoms for Infant or young child:

  • No tears shed on crying.
  • Dry mouth and tongue.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Fewer wet nappies.
  • Recessed soft spot on top of the skull.

What are the Causes of Dehydration?

There are many reasons for Dehydration under which the main causes include,

1. Excessive Sweating

The term used to define excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis. People who does the aggressive workout and expose themselves under hot and humid weather without replacing fluids sweats a lot, thus leading to more fluid loss.

2. Frequent Urination

Medications used for diagnosing diabetics and blood pressure will cause you to urinate more. If the fluid intake is inadequate, dehydration occurs.

3. Fever

When we suffer from fever, our body attempt to lower the temperature by inducing sweat. Fever is directly proportional to dehydration as the fever increases; your body becomes more dehydrated.

4. Vomiting and Diarrhea

Human body fluids (blood, urine, etc.) are filled with electrolytes; these minerals help to control the organ processes, muscles, and blood chemistry. Diarrhea and vomiting discharge a huge amount of water from your body. So people suffering from diarrhea and vomiting together will lose more fluids and minerals.

5. Burns

Due to damaged skin, burn victims become highly dehydrated. Skin is a protective barrier for the body, and in damaged cases, it is not possible to prevent fluid loss.

Potential Complications of Dehydration:

Undiagnosed dehydration leads to various complications.

1. Urinary and Kidney Problems

Kidney stones, urinary infections, and in severe cases, kidney failure, can also be caused due to extended dehydration.

2. Heat Injury

Consume enough fluids while exercising strenuously as fluid loss prompts heat injury such as mild heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and life-threatening heatstroke.

3. Seizures

Electrolytes fetch and carry electrical signals from one cell to another. The electrical messages get mixed up when electrolytes are not in balance, which prompts unconsciousness and muscle contractions.

4. Hypovolemic Shock

Low blood volume creates a drop in the amount of oxygen, and blood pressure in our body leads to serious and life-threatening shock.

How Can We Prevent Dehydration?

Drinking plenty of water and eating food with high water content helps to prevent dehydration. The amount of water intake depends on age, weather, size, and physical activity. Avoid consuming fizzy drinks and caffeinated beverages. Quench your thirst by consuming enough water and don’t keep your throat dry.

How to Treat Dehydration?

The lost fluids must be replaced by taking foods high in water content. Dehydrated infants should not consume water because it will dilute the low levels of minerals and electrolytes present in the body. Medicines for anti-diarrhea, anti-fever and vomiting can help to treat the conditions causing dehydration.

How to Diagnose Dehydration in Adults?

Doctors undergo certain tests and examinations to identify the cause for dehydration. The test includes,

Vital Signs

Dehydration is detected when there are signs of rapid heart rate and low blood pressure.

Blood Chemistries

A blood test can verify the level of electrolytes, and it will describe the amount of fluid loss.


Urine color combined with other symptoms will indicate dehydration.

What are the Risk factors of Dehydration?

1. Older Adults

The adults can’t recognize when they feel thirsty. The reason is when you grow older; your thirst sense becomes lesser acute. Because of mobility problems and medicines, old age people cannot acquire water for themselves.

2. Infants and Children

Children have higher chances of experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Infants can’t convey when they feel thirsty and are vulnerable to dehydration.

3. People Exercise Outside

A hot and humid climate will increase the body temperature. The reason is the sweat produced by the body can’t evaporate and requires more fluid intake.

4. People With Illnesses

Medications for kidney diseases will increase urination. People with diabetes, kidney disease, cold, cystic fibrosis, and alcoholism don’t feel like drinking or eating. These cases are susceptible to have severe dehydration.

5. Alcoholics

When alcohol intake is high, it will decrease Arginine vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone in the blood. So those people will have excessive urination and, at last, they are dehydrated. 

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