Water makes up 3/4th of our body weight and is one of our most basic needs.we consume When this ratio gets disrupted due to excess fluids leaving your body compared to what, it results in dehydration. It is generally caused by either not drinking enough water or water loss caused due to other illnesses. Dehydration makes your body lose its ability to function properly, causing a number of issues such as dizziness, headaches, tiredness, low blood pressure and even fever.
Symptoms of Dehydration
- Dry mouth
- Weakness in muscles
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-coloured urine
How is Dehydration Diagnosed?
There are various tests and examinations that are performed by doctors to identify and diagnose dehydration and its underlying cause.
- Checking blood pressure
- Blood Test
Increased heart rate, faster breathing and lower blood pressure are signs of dehydration. Checking the blood pressure and pulse can help determine if a person is dehydrated. When the amount of fluids in the blood is low, the heart rate speeds up and not enough blood is passed to the brain. Another factor that helps determine dehydration is that a dehydrated person often feels dizzy and faint after standing up suddenly.
Urine is a clear indicator of dehydration. The colour and clarity of the urine can help determine the degree of dehydration. Increased glucose levels in the urine could indicate that the person is diabetic, which is a major cause of dehydration.
Electrolytes and glucose amounts in the blood can help determine if a person is dehydrated. It can also help identify the underlying causes. A complete blood count or other blood tests such as liver function tests are also effective ways of identifying dehydration and its causes.
What is Chronic Dehydration?
In most cases, dehydration is just a short term phenomenon that goes away with proper precaution and care and in some cases, just with time. However, when this doesn’t happen, and dehydration lasts, no matter how much you increase your fluid intake, it is a much serious issue referred to as Chronic Dehydration. People suffering from Chronic Dehydration often have to force themselves to function without adequate amounts of water in their bodies. This is a condition that requires proper medical attention and treatment. If left untreated, it can often lead to kidney stones or high blood pressure.
Causes of Dehydration
There are several reasons why your body can go through a loss of fluids leading to dehydration. Given below are some of these reasons –
- Diarrhoea and Vomiting
- Prescription meds
- High altitudes
Diarrhoea and Vomiting, due to any reason results in your body losing fluids in large quantities. During this period, it is not possible to increase your fluid intake because no matter how many fluids you intake, your body cannot hold it. This results in severe dehydration.
Increased sweating is a common occurrence when you have a fever. This can often lead to a loss of fever and electrolyte. Moreover, fever causes loss of appetite and thirst, making it difficult for a person suffering from a fever to eat or drink anything. Since the heavy loss of fluids is not made up by the intake of more fluids, there is a high risk of dehydration.
People with diabetes are at a high risk of suffering from dehydration. This is because increased blood sugar levels cause the need for excess urination because the body needs to get rid of excess glucose. This can be extremely dehydrating.
There are a huge number of medications that cause dehydration. Especially when it lists vomiting and diarrhoea as a side effect, there are high chances of the medicine being dehydrating.
Your adrenal glands pump out stress hormones when you’re stressed. If this happens frequently then your adrenals become exhausted, leading to a condition called adrenal insufficiency. This affects the production of a hormone called aldosterone, which is responsible for regulating the body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. This leads to dehydration.
During pregnancy, your overall blood volume and cardiac output increase, which can increase your fluid requirements. When this is combined with nausea and vomiting that comes with pregnancy, there are high chances of dehydration.
Alcohol produces an antidiuretic hormone that sends some of the fluids you’re consuming, directly to your bladder instead of keeping it in the body. Meanwhile, due to the diuretic effect of alcohol your cells shrink and water is pushed out to the bladder. Your body fluids are lost through a frequent need for urination, making you dehydrated.
In high altitudes your breathing speeds up and there is an increase in urine output. This happens so that your body can adjust to the altitude and oxygen levels. However, both of these affect body fluids, causing you to lose fluids easily, leading to dehydration.
Home Remedies of Dehydration
You can treat dehydration at home before it turns into a serious illness. Here are some of the home remedies for dehydration that you can adapt to your everyday life in order to stay away from the risks of dehydration.
- Coconut Water
- Barley water
- Homemade ORS
- Cranberry Juice
- Lemon water
Being rich in magnesium and potassium, buttermilk is a great option for quenching thirst and helping in reducing dehydration. Dehydration causes a loss of magnesium and potassium, thus making buttermilk one of the easiest and tastiest way to bring back these minerals into your body.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. This is one of the healthiest ways to make up for potassium lost due to dehydration. It is highly advised to eat a banana before any strenuous physical activity. One or two bananas per day are recommended in order to beat dehydration and replace body fluids.
Coconut water is loaded with nutrients such as sodium and potassium which are often lost due to dehydration. Drinking coconut water while suffering from dehydration can compensate for the loss of these minerals. Consuming fresh coconut water 4 to 5 times a day can keep you hydrated and energised throughout the day.
Barley water is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is a great way to help your body restore its lost nutrients. Barley boiled in water and mixed with honey and lemon is an excellent way to fight dehydration. It is advised to drink this 3 or 4 times a day for best results.
ORS is one of the best ways to make up for the lost fluids in the body. Mixing water with sugar and salt will provide you with the ideal ORS drink that can help reduce the symptoms of dehydration.
Cranberries have a high water content, and these small berries also contain an apt amount of sugar and salt, which the body loses in large quantities due to dehydration. Drinking fresh cranberry juice once or twice a day can instantly make you feel better.
Lemons have ample amounts of sodium, potassium and magnesium. Drinking lemon water helps you replenish these lost nutrients and makes you feel better. In a glass of water, mix lemon and honey. Drink lemon water two to three times a day.
When your body battles dehydration, it loses essential electrolytes. Yoghurt helps in compensating that loss. Having yoghurt with salt and pepper can help you gain back your energy lost due to dehydration and feel better.