Overview of Dehydration

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Introduction to Dehydration

Dehydration may be a condition where the body loses more water than it's consumed. This means the body’s normal function is impaired. Dehydration is caused by a variety of things, these can range from environmental, to situational, or maybe certain illnesses.

For instance, diarrhoea can instigate severe dehydration. A sore throat generally makes drinking fluids very uncomfortable, an excessively hot weather can induce mild dehydration. It is a general observation that when people are very busy at work, they tend to forget about their thirst and give rise to a tendency of dehydration which is harmful to the body. 

Note: Mild and moderate dehydration are often treated with the consumption of water or over-the-counter oral rehydration solutions. Severe dehydration must be treated as a medical emergency and essential fluids and electrolytes are replaced intravenously.


Causes of Dehydration

When a person drinks less water than the minimum recommended amount, there is loss of water in the body and Dehydration takes place. 

Some of the causes of dehydration include: 

  • Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea prevents the large intestine from absorbing water from the food matter.

  • Vomiting: This also leads to a loss of liquids and leads to non-replacement of fluids.

  • Sweating: an outsized amount of water is released from the body during hot and humid weather because of the body’s cooling mechanism.

  • Diabetes: Due to high sugar levels in the body, there is an increase in urination, which leads to Dehydration. 

  • Burns: The blood vessels get damaged reason being the fluid leaks into the environment 

Symptoms of Dehydration

Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms include:

  1. Dry mouth

  2. Very little urine

  3. Cold and dry skin

  4. Headaches

  5. Leg cramps

Severe Dehydration Symptoms Include:

  1. No urine or extremely low volumes of urine

  2. Very dark yellow urine

  3. Inability to sweat

  4. Extreme thirst

  5. Dizziness

  6. Rapid heartbeat

  7. Shortness of breath

  8. Deep set, darkened eyes

  9. Irregular heartbeat

  10. Mental confusion

  11. Irritability

  12. Fainting

In conclusion, dehydration isn't a life-threatening condition if the body can replenish lost fluids and electrolytes soon. If there is prolonged dehydration, then it can cause life-threatening complications which ultimately would require medical intervention. 


Association of Dehydration with Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is a condition where an individual experiences a high frequency of loose and watery stools. The term is taken from the Greek words “Dia” and “rhein”, meaning “flowing through”. Usually, it is not a life-threatening disease and therefore the duration of its symptoms usually vary as there are many causal factors. 


Types of Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is of the following types:

  • Secretory diarrhoea – Excess fluid is secreted into the intestines.

  • Osmotic diarrhoea – Caused when too much water is drawn into the bowels.

  • Motility-related diarrhoea – Where intestines are too active and transport intestinal contents with great speed in order that there's not enough time to soak up water and electrolytes. This results in loose and watery stools.

  • Collagenous colitis – It is a condition of the body in which the intestinal lining is damaged so that it cannot absorb water and electrolytes.

  • Inflammatory diarrhoea – Where intestines are damaged due to bacterial or fungal infections.

Causes of Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be caused by many pathological factors and other factors such as :

  • Intestinal disease.

  • Diabetes.

  • Alcohol consumption.

  • Consuming food that affects the digestive system.

  • Surgery to the digestive system.

  • Radiation therapy.

  • Food poisoning.

  • Skin cancers.

Symptoms of Diarrhoea

Symptoms of this disease include-

  • Loose stools

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Cramps

  • The feeling of a bowel movement

  • Abdominal pain

  • Fever

  • Bloody stools (rare cases)

Treatment of Diarrhoea

Generally, acute diarrhoea will recede on its own, within 2 to 3 days without any treatment. But it's advised to consult the physician regardless.

Some of the treatments suggested by doctors are: 

  • Antibiotics could also be helpful if the symptoms are caused by bacterial or parasitic infections. 

  • Water containing salt and electrolytes help in replacing the lost fluids

  • Medications that treat symptomatically.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can Dehydration be Treated Without a Doctor's Consultation?

Ans. Yes, dehydration is a condition wherein the body loses important fluids required for the smooth functioning of the body. In the condition of dehydration if the patient is feeded with enough fluids, fruits and electrolyte water, there are chances that proper medication and doctor’s consultation is not required. In case of severe dehydration, hospitalization is an option that should be opted. 


2. Is Dehydration a Deadly Disease?

Ans - Dehydration is not a disease instead it's a temporary condition of the body which takes place due to lack of water in the body. Intake of less water and other fluids leads to dryness in the body leading to indigestion and eventually a condition called Dehydration. If proper hydration is provided to the body then this can never be deadly.

3. What is the Best Medicine for Dehydration?

Ans - For Dehydration, Electrolyte water is regarded as the best medicine. It fulfils the mineral requirement of the body and cures the problem of Dehydration. 


4. List the 5 Types of Diarrhoea

Ans - Diarrhoea is of the following types:

  • Secretory diarrhoea – Excess fluid is secreted into the intestines.

  • Osmotic diarrhoea – Caused when too much water is drawn into the bowels.

  • Motility-related diarrhoea – Where intestines are too active and transport intestinal contents with great speed in order that there's not enough time to soak up water and electrolytes. This results in loose and watery stools.

  • Collagenous colitis – It is a condition of the body in which the intestinal lining is damaged so that it cannot absorb water and electrolytes.

  • Inflammatory diarrhoea – Where intestines are damaged due to bacterial or fungal infections.

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