Dehydration occurs when the body does not have enough water or fluids. The body's output of fluids is greater than its intake. Not drinking enough water and losing it too quickly through vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sweating are the main causes of dehydration. Extreme heat, fever, the use of diuretics and disorders such as diabetes
and Addison's disease may also cause dehydration.
One of the first signs of dehydration is increased thirst and a dry mouth. If fluids are not replaced, sweating may decrease and the body may stop producing urine and tears. Tissues of the body may dry out and cells may malfunction if dehydration continues. If dehydration becomes severe, blood pressure may fall dangerously low, leading to shock
and damage of the liver
Drinking fluids may be a suitable cure for mild dehydration. If electrolytes have been lost, salt must also be replaced. Intravenous fluids, most containing sodium chloride, and hospitalization may be necessary for moderate to severe dehydration.
While dehydration is most likely to affect infants and small children, the elderly are susceptible to the disorder as well. Dehydration is usually seen in elderly nursing home patients who have been neglected.
- Nutritional & Metabolism Disorders: Overview
- Highland Park Care Center
- Kindred Healthcare
- Nursing Home & Elder Abuse