Dehydration is a condition where the body fluids are not enough for normal functioning. If an individual was not able to drink adequate amounts of fluids or substantial water loss occurred due to excessive sweating or frequent urination, dehydration can occur. Many individuals do not consume the recommended 8-10 glasses of water in a day, thus many tend to by mildly dehydrated. The side effects of being dehydrated involve several bodily systems and can range from mild to life-threatening.
One of the side effects of being dehydrated starts with a dry mouth and thirst. It is important to note that the tongue and oral mucous membranes appear coated and dry. In most cases, the mouth might even feel sticky.
Always bear in mind that water is vital for proper cellular function. Inadequate consumption of water prevents the bodily systems from functioning optimally. Diminished level of energy, loss of muscle strength and endurance as well as feeling tired is considered as symptoms of dehydration.
Infants and young children who are suffering from moderate to severe dehydration might be sleepy and lethargic or even irritable and fussy. Lack of tears and dark circles under the eyes are other indications of dehydration that should be observed among children.
Mild to moderate cases of dehydration can also cause a headache. Oftentimes, a headache can be relieved by drinking several ounces of water. The thinking capability as well as the memory is also affected when an individual is dehydrated.
The sense of hunger is also a side effect of being dehydrated. Fluids can be obtained by eating foods such as vegetables, fruits or soups. Remember that the body sends out a signal that it needs water through thirst and hunger sensations.
Low blood pressure
Cases of moderate to severe dehydration can also cause low blood pressure. The low intake of fluid can cause a drop in the amount of circulating blood volume, thus resulting to low blood pressure. The symptoms that are evident include dizziness and a feeling that he/she might faint upon standing up.
Diminished urine output
A reduction in the urine output is an indication of moderate to severe dehydration. Infants who have less than 6 soiled diapers in a day or children who were not able to urinate for 8 or more hours require measures to properly manage dehydration.
Encourage the intake of fluids and if the individual could not drink or eat properly, a doctor should be consulted. Remember that severe cases of dehydration that were not treated can lead to lasting kidney damage. The urine should be clear and very light yellow in color. Dark-colored urine with foul odor or accompanied by burning sensation during urination are indications of dehydration.
An individual with a rapid heart rate is an indication of moderate to severe dehydration. Take note that the heart rate increases in an attempt to maintain the blood pressure. Replacement of fluids is urgently needed and if the individual could not consume the required amount of fluids, he/she must be taken to the doctor for proper assessment.
Altered mental status
A side effect of severe dehydration includes confusion and loss of consciousness. An individual in this condition requires emergency care. If the individual has severe dehydration, he/she will have a low blood pressure, rapid heart rate and even fever, mental confusion as well as extreme weakness.