In simple language dehydration is deprivation of fluid content in the body. Dehydration occurs when more water and fluids are exiting the body than are entering the body.
Our bodies are about two thirds water and 75% of body weight is due to water. Water is found inside cells, within blood vessels, and between cells and survival requires a rather sophisticated water management mechanism. Our body has mechanism, called fluid and electrolyte balance, which balances intake and outgo of the fluid. This mechanism also shifts water to the essential organs when dehydration occurs.
The body’s initial response to dehydration can be the first symptoms of dehydration. There will be increased thirst and decreased urine output in dehydration.
Dehydration Symptoms in Children: Children and infants show following symptoms when dehydrated:
- Dryness of the mouth and dry skin
- Little to no tear production when crying
- Sunken abdomen, eyes and cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on the head of an infant or a toddler
- Babies who do not have at least one wet diaper over the span of six hours
- Children who do not urinate at least once in the span of twelve hours
- Dark yellow urine
- Abnormally cool skin or sometimes it can be fever
- Listlessness or irritability
- Skin that does not flatten when pinched and released
Dehydration Symptoms in Adults:
- Headache and Dizziness
- Inability to urinate
- Dry mouth and nose
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Confusion and Weakness
Dehydration Symptoms in Babies:
It can be a life-threatening condition for newborns. Lack of fluid in the body can lead to less supply of oxygen rich blood to the organs. This can lead to a condition called shock. In adults, water is conserved by the kidney for later use. This is not the case in babies. As a result, dehydration is more serious condition in infants than in adults. If the condition is mild, electrolyte solution can be used which can replenish the baby’s body with the fluid lost. In more severe cases, fluids is to be supplied intravenously to the infant. Some symptoms of dehydration to look for in babies are:
- Dry Diapers
- Dark Urine
- No Tears
- No Tears
Dehydration Symptoms in Elderly:
Signs of dehydration in aged people are different when compared to the one’s in younger adults and children. Medications taken by them is primary source of this condition. These medicines work at very finer levels of the body and affect the water management system. A typical sign of dehydration in aged people is poor skin elasticity. Here, the skin retains its normal shape when pinched.
Severe Dehydration Symptoms:
- Excessive fatigue
- A fontanel on the head and hands
- Feet that are cold and splotchy
- Sunken eyes
- Parched mouth and tongue
- Loss of appetite
- Tingling sensation in the arms and feet
- Laboured breathing
- Mental confusion
Dehydration is a problem which can happen to a person belonging to any age group. It should not be neglected especially, the person suffering is aged or an infant.