ARE YOU DRINKING ENOUGH WATER?
- GUIDE TO PREVENTING DEHYDRATION


Body of Water

Dehydration occurs when the body is lacking in vital fluids. Often, this can occur during warmer months when people work outside and do not drink enough water, but it can also happen in many other scenarios, and can be extremely dangerous and in some cases, deadly. There are three main types of dehydration. The first type is called hypotonic. When this form of dehydration occurs, the victim is very low in proper electrolytes and sodium. The second form of dehydration is hypertonic dehydration and it occurs when the body lacks water. The third form of dehydration is called isotonic, which results in an equal loss of both water and electrolytes. This third form is the most commonly seen type in human beings, and can easily be rectified by making sure the patient has enough of both water and necessary electrolytes.

 

Signs of Dehydration

There are many different signs and symptoms of dehydration. The first sign is typically a severe headache, followed by dizziness. Another one of the first signs of dehydration is sever thirst, discomfort, and loss of appetite. Next, the muscles begin to cramp, particularly the muscles in the legs. Visual difficulties’ including fuzziness, along with hypotension (decreased blood pressure), are also common symptoms. When the dehydration worsens, the symptoms increase and worsen as well. Respiration and heart rates will begin to increase as dehydration gets more severe. Patients often experience constipation because there is not enough water in the bowel. Clammy skin and fainting can also occur. People who are dehydrated may also appear as if their skin is a yellow tone, and their eyes may appear as if they are sunken in or dark. Blood pressure drops, and patients can go into a dangerous state of hyperthermia in hotter temperatures, which combined with dehydration can be deadly. Without enough hydration, the heart can stop beating, resulting in death. Dehydration symptoms normally start to become noticeable after the body loses about 2% of its normal water volume. When the body gets to a point where it has lost 10% to 15% of its normal water volume muscles start to become spastic, urination becomes painful and is greatly reduced, and the skin starts to shrivel up and wrinkle. When the body loses more than 15% of its water volume, it is usually fatal.

While the most common cause of dehydration is simple lack of proper hydration or consumption of water and other liquids, there are also other causes. Stress-related issues can also cause dehydration. Some examples of stress-related causes can include blood loss, diarrhea, shock, too much alcohol consumption, vomiting and burns to the skin. Infectious diseases can also be a cause for dehydration. A few examples of these diseases include cholera, yellow fever, and gastroenteritis. Malnutrition as a result of a high rate of weight loss, fasting, or diabetes related problems can also cause dehydration to occur. Too much weight loss can also take important electrolytes with it, which is why it is important for people who are diabetic or on a diet to stay properly hydrated.

How much water should I drink?

The best way to prevent dehydration is to stay properly hydrated each and every day. Consumption of water is essential to human life. Avoiding too much caffeine and beverages that are high in sugar are two good ways to help prevent dehydration. When working in hot weather or in the sun, drinking extra water is a must. If someone becomes dehydrated, liquids may be replenished through intravenous methods, and simple water consumption is also a way to treat mild dehydration. Since water is absorbed through the skin, applying wet towels to the body can help ease symptoms. Regulating body temperature is also important in treating dehydration. It is important to catch dehydration symptoms early on before they start to become severe.

For more information about dehydration, please refer to the following websites:

  • Basics – Some of the signs, symptoms, and causes of dehydration.
  • Preventing Fluid Loss – Here are some helpful tips to help you prevent fluid loss.
  • Signs & Symptoms – A list of common signs you may be experiencing dehydration.
  • Overview – This page gives an overview of what dehydration is and what it does to the body.
  • Dehydration & Heat Injury – Too much heat can cause dehydration. Learn more about this here.
  • Preventing Dehydration – More information on what can be done to prevent dehydration.
  • More Basics – This page provides another helpful overview of dehydration.
  • Heat Stroke – Learn more about dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Dehydration by Age Group – This page discusses dehydration in children, babies, and adults.
  • Types of Dehydration – A chart explaining the three basic types of dehydration.
  • Treatments – What can be done when someone experiences dehydration.
  • Concerns about BPA Exposure – BPA is most often found in plastic goods and is believed to have impacted public health.