What Are the Dangers of Dehydration?
Many of us have experienced thirst, sluggishness, headache and dry mouth. However, not many know that these common experiences are actually the signs of dehydration. In fact, many of us are dehydrated without knowing it. A majority of American adults, up to 75%, are chronically dehydrated.
Hydration is an important part of being healthy and feeling your best. One of the best ways to better hydrate your body is to understand how to spot symptoms of dehydration. In this blog, let’s discuss what dehydration is, dangers of dehydration, and how to avoid dehydration.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your body has lost more fluids than it has consumed. Contrary to popular belief, staying hydrated isn’t just about water intake. In addition to water, our body needs electrolytes to regulate our fluid balance. So staying hydrated also means replenishing the sodium and potassium we lose throughout the day.
While many people have experienced signs of some form of dehydration, not replenishing your fluids and electrolytes can exacerbate your condition. In some cases, dehydration can lead to hospitalizations and be fatal.
What is Mild Dehydration?
Mild dehydration is fairly common and occurs when you have lost under 6% of fluids in body weight. For instance, if you feel thirsty, you’re likely experiencing mild dehydration. Fortunately, mild dehydration, in most cases, can be reversed by drinking fluids and replenishing electrolytes.
Symptoms of Mild Dehydration:
Feelings of thirst
Dry skin and lips
Dark urine or decreased urine output
Since symptoms of mild dehydration are such common occurrences, we’ve been led to believe that dehydration isn’t dangerous. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our body is 55%-65% water. When we don't get the hydration we need, important body functions are challenged.
When we don’t rehydrate, our body and organs become weaker and less efficient at their job. Overtime, simple tasks such as maintaining our body temperature and brain functions become difficult. Without relief, a simple mild dehydration can progress to a serious health condition called severe dehydration.
What is Severe Dehydration?
Severe dehydration occurs when our body loses more than 10% of fluids in body weight. Unlike mild dehydration, this is a serious condition that requires swift medical attention. If left untreated, severe dehydration can cause serious problems like swelling in the brain, seizures, and even death.
Symptoms of Severe Dehydration
In comparison to mild dehydration, our body loses many key functions when we are severely dehydrated. When someone shows signs of severe dehydration, medical attention is required immediately.
Decreased or no urination, or amber colored urine
Skin doesn’t sink back to normal after pinching
Low blood pressure, dizziness
Increased heart rate
Rapid, deep breathing
Lethargy, excessive tiredness
Unconsciousness or delirium
Risk Factors for Severe Dehydration
Severe dehydration is commonly caused when the body’s use of water is accelerated. For instance, illnesses that cause diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating. These symptoms can cause a dangerous rapid loss of body fluids.
In particular, diarrhea is a dangerous risk factor for severe dehydration and a major cause of death worldwide. Patients suffering from cholera and Ebola are most likely to develop and succumb to severe dehydration. Additionally, health factors such as taking 5 or more prescription drugs, burns, and the inability to drink water (i.e. due to stroke) are all contributing risk factors for severe dehydration.
Additionally, populations of young children and elderly adults are more prone to fluid loss and developing dehydration. Nearly 200,000 children under the age of 3 are hospitalized every year as a result of diarrhea and dehydration. For the older adults, fluid and electrolyte disturbances from acute gastroenteritis result in about 300,000 hospitalizations per year.
How to Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is a common, but possibly deadly condition. Many factors, such as age and health, can increase your risk for dehydration. There are many dangers of dehydration and the best way to avoid them is to keep your body hydrated. Preventing dehydration can be as simple as replenishing your body fluids and electrolytes regularly.
Prevent dehydration by drinking hydration boosters like DripDrop. Formulated with a scientific formula of vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium, DripDrop helps your body rehydrate completely.