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Inadequate dehydration refers to the lack of water in the body. It means the body does not have enough water to function smoothly. It occurs when more fluids tend to leave the body than how much they enter.
Inadequate hydration occurs due to insufficient intake or too much loss of fluids via sweating, exercising, or diarrhea. It is quantified as at least a 1% loss of body weight due to fluid loss.
Just as our Mother Earth, the human body is composed of more than 70% water. Without this much water, it is not possible to survive. Water is present between and inside cells as well as within the blood vessels.
Inadequate dehydration can be an acute problem if it is ignored. Luckily, there are many ways through which you can know whether you are dehydrated or not. These are usually the symptoms that tend to surface even with a little loss of water. Being dehydrated by even 1% can trigger signs and symptoms.
However, the state is worse when it increases the risk of complications. Let’s take a closer look at these complications and symptoms.
Even mild, adequate hydration adversely influences the functioning of the brain as well as boosts feelings of tiredness. Mental functions that are likely to be affected are response time, memory, concentration, and attention.
Other common complications linked to inadequate hydration include weakness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and high risk of falls. In some people, this condition can even lead to different skin conditions and pressure sores.
It is known to most of us that water is essential for healthy kidneys and a healthy urinary tract. If the overall fluid intake becomes less, the risk of infections in these areas increases. Acute kidney injury is commonly attributed to inadequate hydration, as one of the leading causes.
Inadequate intake of water is also one of the frequent causes of constipation. It is often seen that drinking more water leads to increased stool frequency as well as boosts the beneficial effect of fiber consumption.
Many people do no drink fluids as needed for avoiding frequent visits to the toilet, especially at night. However, such confinement does not bring down the severity or frequency of urinary incontinence.
If you are severely dehydrated, you are at the risk of some more health conditions, such as muscle cramps. Ongoing inadequate hydration is associated with decreased kidney function, intestinal failure, low metabolism, kidney stones, and even dementia.
According to healthline.com, researchers are still working to understand all ways in which chronic dehydration can affect the human brain and body functions. Following are some of the severe complications or risk you can face if you are not adequately hydrated:
- Heat injury that can range from mild cramps to heat exhaustion or threatening stroke due to dehydration while exercising vigorously and sweating heavily
- Kidney failure due to repeated or prolonged spells of inadequate hydration
- Seizures due to the imbalance of sodium and potassium electrolytes carrying electrical signals among cells, which leads to involuntary muscle contractions and even consciousness loss
- Life-threatening low-blood volume shock when blood pressure and oxygen drop due to water loss
The initial symptoms of inadequate hydration are increased thirst, less urine production, and darker urine. Indeed, urine color is among the top indicators of the hydration level. Nevertheless, it is vital to note that dehydration can trigger without the symptom of more thirst, especially in older adults. As inadequate hydration progresses, following are the common symptoms:
- Dry mouth
- Weakness in muscles
Severe dehydration, meaning 10-15% loss of the body’s water, is likely to be characterized by acute or extreme forms of the symptoms, which are as follows:
- Lack of sweating
- Sunken eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Withered skin
- Low blood pressure
Following are the common symptoms of inadequate hydration in babies and children:
- Soft spot atop the head in babies
- Dry tongue and mouth
- Tearless while crying
- No wet diaper for three hours
- Sunken eyes and cheeks
When It Is Time to Consult a Doctor?
It is time to call a doctor and make an appointment if one of your loved ones is suffering from one of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea for at least 24 hours
- Black or bloody stool
- Sleepier than normal
- Frequent irritation
- Frequent confusion
- Less active than normal
Even a low level of hydration can result in constipation, lethargy, and headaches. Thus, it is vital to drink more water when it is hotter outside according to this article about the water softener buying guide.
Who Are At Risk?
While anyone can be susceptible to inadequate hydration, a few of us are at more risk. Those who are at this risk are as follows:
- Infants and kids, especially those suffering from vomiting and diarrhea
- People with chronic sickness such as adrenal gland issues, kidney disorder, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and alcohol problems
- Those at higher altitudes
- Athletes such as cyclists and marathons
- Older adults
How to Find Out Whether You Are Inadequately Hydrated or Is Something Else?
If you feel thirsty, it means that you are already inadequately hydrated. However, lack of thirst is not necessarily a sign of being well hydrated. So, you need to check out whether you are adequately hydrated or not using some other way.
You can try a simple skin test. With two fingers, pinch the skin on your hand’s rear area and let the skin go. If the skin returns to its standard position within a few seconds, it means you are hydrated. If this return is happening slowly, it may indicate dehydration.
Another way to check whether you are dehydrated or not is to check your urine. If adequately hydrated, the urine will feature a standard tinge of yellow. A darker shade of orange is alarming colors to check out. If you see one of these colors, it is high time to start drinking more water.
Inadequate dehydration may increase the risk of kidney issues, urinary infections, seizures, stroke, confusion, and dizziness. It is better to prevent it by drinking enough fluids.
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