There is a delicate balance in the body and in every cell, between water and dissolved substances. Dehydration occurs when the body is deprived of its normal supply of water or excessive water is lost. This condition is most life-threatening in newborns, infants and persons over 60. 50-60% of a body weight consists of water. Water intake and output needs to be kept in fairly narrow limits to maintain cells and body tissue.
Causes of Dehydration
There are many possible causes of dehydration. They include such conditions as persistent vomiting or persistent diarrhea. High fevers, particularly when they may last a long time, results in heavy sweating as the body tries and cool itself. Some medications, such as diuretics (water pills), can rapidly produce dehydration by affecting the kidneys. Starvation and overexposure to sun or heat are other causes.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Dehydration produces dry mouth and tongue, decreased or absent urination, sunken eyes, and wrinkled skin. As the brain becomes affected, there may be dizziness, confusion and coma. It can produce hypotension, or low blood pressure, severe thirst, increase in heart rate and rapid breathing.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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