Dehydration occurs when the body loses too much fluids. This phenomena occurs when water intake is stopped or when large amounts of water are eliminated from the body through diarrhea, vomiting, sweating or exercise. Decreased water intake can cause muscle cramps and fatigue.
The body normally absorbs fluids from the blood or other tissues of the body. But when the organism is dehydrated, it can no longer assure the fluid needed in order for the blood to keep a constant and normal flow, and thus the patient can go into a state of shock, a condition that can threaten life. Dehydration can occur at any age but is very serious for infants, children and the elderly.
In case you or someone close to you experiences dehydration symptoms, emergency treatment is needed. Immediately calling a rescue team is recommended. Symptoms of dehydration consist in the presence of shock in children and the elderly.
Infants and children are more likely to suffer from dehydration because:
- Children have a higher percentage of body water.
- Children have a faster metabolism than adults, so children use more of the body’s water;
- Children’s kidneys are not as well developed as adult kidneys are, thus the kidneys do not conserve enough water;
- The immune system that helps fight infections is not fully developed in children, thus increasing the chance of getting a disease that may cause diarrhea and vomiting;
- Often children do not eat or consume enough liquids when they are sick;
- Children depend on caregivers to nurture and hydrate them.
Dehydration in the elderly
Seniors are more likely to suffer from dehydration because:
- They do not drink liquids as they do not feel as thirsty as younger patients;
- Their kidneys do not work as good as those of younger patients;
- They do not drink fluids, possibly because of incontinence (the inability to control the bladder);
- Of physical problems or they are suffering from other diseases that:
- Don’t allow them to hold a glass of water in their hands;
- Can cause pain when they’re out of bed or standing up from a chair;
- Doesn’t allow them go to the toilet.
Infants, children and the elderly should be monitored closely to see the initial symptoms of dehydration, whenever they have any problems that cause diarrhea, vomiting or sweating. Signs of an incipient stage of dehydration are:
- Dry mouth and sticky saliva;
- Reduced amount of urine and changed urine color (urine is more concentrated);
- Distracted and very irritable behavior.