Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Your system literally dries out. Next to oxygen, water is the nutrient most needed for life.

The best indicator for dehydration is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you are well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration. Note: Thirst is not always a reliable gauge of your need for water, especially in children and older adults.

Dehydration has many causes including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Exposure to heat and sun
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive exercise
  • Medications, including Diuretics (water pills) and Laxatives
  • Fluid imbalance caused by illnesses

In Texas, dehydration resulted in 18,783 hospitalizations in 2012. The average hospital stay was 3.5 days and the average hospital charge was $25,033. In adults, the majority of admissions for dehydration involved the elderly with individuals over the age of 65 accounting for 62% of the hospitalizations.

Prevention Steps:

  • Take water breaks throughout the day.
  • Carry a bottle of water with you.
  • Drink a beverage with each meal.
  • Drink more when exercising.
  • Drink a full glass of water if you need to take a pill.
  • Consider foods as sources of water, too.
  • Keep cool.

Symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Low volume and/or more yellowish then normal urine
  • Limited tear production/dry eyes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Confusion

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