If you’re dehydrated, your body has lost more fluids than you replaced, causing a fluid deficit in your body. Because the human body is made up of 60% water, staying hydrated is crucial to prevent complications.
Sweating from sports, suffering from certain illnesses, and simply not drinking enough are common causes of dehydration. Still, they're not the only reasons for dehydration.
Because dehydration can lead to serious complications, our Integrated Body and Medicine team offers IV hydration and alkaline water to help you maintain adequate fluid levels in your body.
We evaluate your overall health and physical activity to determine how much water you need daily and what treatments are best for you.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration can be mild, moderate, or severe and may occur suddenly, especially in hot weather or when you’re ill. As dehydration progresses, you may experience other signs and symptoms that signal a real problem, such as:
- Extreme thirst
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Decreased urination
- Dark, concentrated urine
- Dry skin
- Skin that feels cool
- Muscle cramps
The longer dehydration continues without intake of sufficient fluids, the worse the symptoms become. Severe dehydration leads to dizziness, confusion, an increased heart rate, and low blood pressure.
Little-known causes of dehydration
Dehydration is more prevalent than you might think. Vomiting, sweating during exercise, and severe illnesses that lead to vomiting are all well-known causes of fluid loss. Other less common issues can also cause dehydration, including:
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes people to sweat significantly more than usual. If you have hyperhidrosis, you're at a higher risk for dehydration due to increased fluid loss from sweat.
Pills that help reduce blood pressure are known as diuretics. These pills eliminate excess fluid from the body through urination.
While diuretics are helpful for certain conditions, they increase the risk of dehydration, so you need to be careful. If you take diuretics, speak with the prescribing doctor about how much water you should drink to prevent complications.
When you have a fever, your body temperature rises, and your body attempts to lower your temperature by excreting fluids through your skin. You know this as sweating. You could become dehydrated if you're not vigilant about drinking fluids when you have a fever.
Older adults are especially prone to dehydration for various reasons, including memory issues. Sometimes, older adults forget to drink water, even if thirsty, which can cause dehydration.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections can lead to dehydration for various reasons, including increased urination and fever. This is especially true in older adults who aren't as likely to drink enough fluids to replace those lost from an infection.
How to stay hydrated
As you no doubt know, the best way to avoid dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. The average adult should drink at least eight glasses of water daily, but that’s just a general guideline. You may need more fluids.
For instance, if you're an athlete and sweat a lot during practice or games, you must drink enough water to balance the fluid loss from sweating.
If you're sick and dealing with a fever or vomiting and diarrhea, consume plenty of fluids. It's easy to become dehydrated when losing fluid through sweat and vomiting.
Another tip for avoiding dehydration is to check your urine frequently to see if it's clear. When your urine is clear, you're sufficiently hydrated, but when it's dark or concentrated, that’s your signal to drink more fluids.
You should also add electrolytes to your fluids, especially if you’re active in the summer or sick. Electrolytes help replace essential nutrients your body needs, along with the fluids.
If you're at risk for dehydration, don't hesitate to call us today to schedule an appointment at Integrated Body and Medicine in the greater Highland and Hammond, Indiana, area. You may also request a consultation on this website.