Top 5 Signs of Dehydration In Adults

If you are feeling a bit sluggish, it may be dehydration. Dehydration signs or symptoms are the direct result of the body not having sufficient fluids or water to work properly.

Signs of dehydration in adults could be the result of many different things. Vomiting, diarrhea  as well as simply failing to drink enough water to meet the needs of the body are common causes of dehydration.

There are 3 classifications used to describe the signs of dehydration – mild, moderate and serious. Serious or severe dehydration is a life threatening case and requires immediate medical attention.

Kids and babies are in a higher risk category of dehydration due to their small body size and the potential for fast fluctuations in body water levels. The elderly are also at a higher risk, particularly those who have chronic illnesses.

You might experience additional dehydration signs when your body undertakes a loss or imbalance of electrolytes together with loss of water. Electrolytes and water are required for the body to perform important functions.

Here are the top signs of dehydration in adults.  

Bad Breath

Your saliva has antibacterial property in it, but dehydration could prevent the body from generating enough saliva.  According to Dr. John Higgins, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and a chief of cardiology at LBJGH or Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, when you are not making enough saliva, you could get more bacteria growing in your mouth than is typical and one side reaction of which is bad breath from serious dehydration.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is also one sign of dehydration in adults. Many people believe that those who get dehydrated are actually sweaty, but in different phases of dehydration, you might not have adequate blood volume, so you get extremely dry skin. Due to skin dryness and absence of evaporation, you are also prone to skin flushing.  

This is very relevant in the winter as well. According to Higgins, signs of dehydration might be milder during cold temperatures, but it is still possible to be dehydrated and suffer from illness due to heat in the cool season. In fact, cold air can hold less water, so it can exacerbate evaporation and dehydration.

Muscle Cramps

You are prone to muscle cramps when you are hotter and one cause is the effect of heat on your muscles. When your muscle works harder, it could stiffen up from the heat. A drop in the levels of electrolytes, alterations in potassium and sodium could result in muscle cramping too, according to Dr. Higgins.

Chills and Fever

It may sound counterintuitive but when your body is seriously dehydrated, you might suffer signs like chills and fever. Fever could be especially risky, so make sure to look for medical assistance right away when your fever goes up more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food craving, particularly for sugary foods

If you are dehydrated, it could be hard for some minerals and nutrients and body organs such as liver that utilize water to let glycogen loose and other factors of the energy store, so you can really get cravings for sweet foods. According to Dr. Higgins, craving for anything from candies to chocolate and other sugary treats is common as the body might be suffering difficulty with the production of glycogen.

Causes of Dehydration in Adults

There are different causes of dehydration and there are many reasons why the body might lose too much water.

You might not take enough amounts of water or other fluids because of:

  • A sore throat
  • General ill feeling, stomach upset and nausea
  • Mouth sores which make it painful and uncomfortable to drink

You can also experience signs of dehydration once you lose too much fluid or water from your body. This too much loss of body fluids might be because of:

  • Persistent Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Persistent high fever
  • Overuse of diuretics  or water pills
  • Specific illnesses like diabetes or illnesses of the kidneys or adrenal glands

Young kids and even adults might refuse to drink once they are sick. Signs of dehydrations can be accelerated when the adults are also suffering a high fever, vomiting or diarrhea.

There are lots of procedures that might be done for an adult that is experiencing dehydration. Without treatment, lots of serious medical condition might occur. This condition might even prove to be life threatening when not cured. Dehydration could affect everyone and it is essential that they know the signs.

Treatment for Dehydration

Treatment for dehydration will vary depending on the cause as well as level of dehydration. When signs of dehydration are not that serious, you must increase your water intake. On the other hand, it’s best to intake small amounts of water in frequent intervals. Never try to force large amounts of water or other sources of fluids into your body at one time because this could result in vomiting.

It is also very much important to talk to your doctor to make sure that the right balance of water and electrolytes is restored. Eating ice chips could be a useful way to gradually introduce water back into a gently dehydrated body.

When you are also suffering from loss of electrolytes, eating freezer pops or taking an electrolyte supplement is recommended. These could be found at the local pharmacy near. Sports drinks are also good at fighting dehydration, but one must be careful about the high levels of sugar, since it could worsen diarrhea; they must be used with extra caution.

When symptoms of dehydration are moderate to serious, water might need to be replaced intravenously and this might need hospitalization. When dehydration is because of diarrhea, vomiting or high fever, cure of the underlying condition by a doctor will alleviate the issue. Treatments might be required to control diarrhea as well as vomiting.

In most conditions, complete recovery from signs of dehydrations is possible if water has been replaced and the cause resolved.

Dehydration in adults could be caused by many conditions and diseases and when right care isn’t taken immediately, the condition could threaten your life or the life of your loved ones.

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