Label Cloud

Can't find your medicines ? Try Google Search.

Jan 18, 2008

The thirst -Dehydration

Dehydration, when severe, can be life-threatening.

MY son’s class was made to play football in the afternoon sun the other day. He was very thirsty and tired after the incident. I’m writing in to complain to the headmaster. Was he suffering from dehydration?

Possibly yes. Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in. What happens then is your body doesn’t have enough water.

Don’t forget to take in fluid when you’re exercising or engaged in strenuous physical activity.
Why is water so important to our bodies?

Water is extremely important for the well-being of our bodies because all our cells and organs depend on water for functioning. In fact, the basic unit of a cell is mostly water. Blood and saliva too contains mostly water.

For example:

  • Water is a lubricant for organs to function normally.

  • Water forms the fluids that surround the joints and helps them work normally. This allows you to flex and extend your joints when you walk or perform ordinary chores with your hands. Water also forms the basis of your digestive fluids.

  • Water regulates your body temperature by distributing and getting rid of excess heat through sweating.

  • Water forms the basis of your urine and help detoxifies the body of waste products.

    Water also helps prevent disease, decrease the risk of cancer and helps in the cure and recovery of various ailments when you do have them.

    It has been published that drinking eight glasses of water daily can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50% and it potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

    If dehydration is mild and you’re an adult, you can compensate by drinking lots of water or isotonic drinks. You should avoid all beverages with caffeine as they may temporarily make the dehydration worse.
    Why would anyone get dehydration?

    An average adult loses more than 2.5 litres (2 ½ Coke bottles) of water a day by simply living, meaning to say by breathing, sweating and eliminating waste.

    You will lose more than this if you are active, such as when you’re exercising or standing out in the hot sun.

    If you have lost more liquid than you have consumed, then you will get dehydration, simple as that.

    Some causes are very common:

  • You don’t drink enough water. A lot of people don’t do this because they claim busy work schedules or simply that they “forgot”. Some people even lack access to clean water.

  • If you are sweating excessively. This is especially when you are exercising or engaged in strenuous physical activity, and you forget you have to drink more fluids than usual.

    People who live in the tropics like us need more water than people living in temperate climates. Consequently, people who work outdoors in the harsh sun need more fluids than people who work in air-conditioned rooms.

  • When you are having diarrhoea or vomiting. Beware especially of this in children and infants – it can be very serious. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million infants and children die from dehydration every year as a result of diarrhoea.

  • If you are having a high fever.

  • If you are having increased urination due to diabetes or certain medications like thiazides or if you are drinking too much alcohol.

  • If you have extensive burns, whereupon you will lose fluid through your skin.

    How will I know if I’m dehydrated?

    You will know if you experience the following:

  • Dry mouth

  • Thirst

  • Sleepiness of tiredness

  • Going to urinate a lot less often or going for eight hours or more without urinating (for children).

  • Muscle weakness

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Having few or no tears while crying if you are an infant or child

    But if you have extreme thirst or extreme irritability with all those symptoms, you are likely to have severe dehydration. If this happens, you have to go to hospital immediately because however much you drink will not save you in time.

    In children and infants, severe dehydration can manifest as extreme fussiness or sleepiness.

    Why is dehydration so dangerous?

    Because it can cause heatstroke, swelling of the brain, fits, hypovolaemic shock, kidney failure, coma and subsequently death.

    How is dehydration treated?

    It actually depends on how severe the dehydration is and your age. If it’s mild and you’re an adult, you can compensate by drinking lots of water or isotonic drinks. You should avoid all beverages with caffeine as they may temporarily make the dehydration worse.

    For severe dehydration, it’s straight to the hospital and rehydration by IV fluids.

  • Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


    Blog Widget by LinkWithin