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Dehydration is an abnormal condition in which the body's cells are deprived of an adequate amount of water. Dehydration can be the result of conditions that cause the body to lose too much water, such as excessive heat, sweating, illness, low humidity, medication side effects, and high elevation, such as in the mountains. Dehydration can also be the result of not drinking enough water and fluids.
Dehydration can be mild, moderate or severe and life-threatening. Infants, children, athletes and the elderly are particularly prone to dehydration and severe complications, although dehydration can occur in any age group or population. In an otherwise healthy person, dehydration can be prevented by drinking about eight eight ounce glasses of water per day.
Adequate amounts of water, or good hydration, is necessary to prevent dehydration. Water is a vital substance in the body. It makes up about 70 percent of the muscles, organs, and solid tissue in the body and is crucial to many of the body's processes. Dehydration negatively affects such functions as eliminating toxins, delivering nutrients, carrying oxygen to the cells of the body, producing energy, and lubricating joints. Dehydration can impact proper balance of vital electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are also essential to healthy functioning of the body.
Dehydration can be acute and appear relatively suddenly, such as dehydration that occurs with a new case of type 1 diabetes. Dehydration can also be ongoing and chronic, such as can occur an elderly person who does not drink enough fluids because of a fear of incontinence.
Dehydration can also be a symptom of a diseases, such as aldosterone deficiency and type 1 diabetes. Dehydration can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, diseases or disorders. These include vomiting, diarrhea, alcohol intoxication, fever, cholera, jet lag and gastroenteritis. Dehydration can also result from taking diuretic medications, such as furosemide (Lasix), which cause the body to lose water.
Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, and dry lips and tongue. Complications of dehydration can be serious, even life-threatening and include shock, coma and death. For more details about symptoms and complications, see symptoms of dehydration.
Diagnosing dehydration and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. Diagnostic testing that is performed generally includes a chemistry profile, which measures levels of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium.
A complete blood count can reveal blood that is abnormally concentrated due to a lack of water. A urine specific gravity test is a test that measures the specific gravity of urine, which is elevated with moderate to severe dehydration. A BUN and creatinine test measures kidney function and substances that may be abnormally high in the blood in dehydration.
Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder causing the dehydration. This generally includes blood sugar testing to check for diabetes.
A diagnosis of dehydration and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because some people may be unaware that they have become dehydrated. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of dehydration.
Treatment of dehydration involves rehydration using oral or intravenous fluids and treating any underlying disease, disorder or condition that may be causing the dehydration. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of dehydration....more »
Diagnosing dehydration and its cause may be delayed or missed because the dehydration may not be severe enough for a person to seek medical care. Some people, especially as the elderly, may be unaware that they are experiencing symptoms of dehydration, such as thirst, rapid heartbeat, and weakness. In addition, some symptoms of dehydration, such as ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Dehydration.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Review the causes of these more specific types of Dehydration:
Review causes of more specific types of Dehydration:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Dehydration, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The first step in treating dehydration is prevention. For healthy adults this includes drinking eight eight ounce glasses of water every day. Water needs will be higher for certain people, such as athletes or people who live at high altitudes or in hot, dry climates. Athletes may benefit from drinking a solution that is fortified with the electrolytes that are lost through sweating, such as ...Dehydration Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Dehydration may include:
Review further information on Dehydration Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Dehydration may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Dehydration:
Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Dehydration or relevant symptoms:
Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Dehydration. Some of these are listed below :
The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible
causes of Dehydration as a symptom.
Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using,
including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Dehydration as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Dehydration may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Dehydration:
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Dehydration. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist here.
Read more about causes and Dehydration deaths.
Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Dehydration as a symptom include:
The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Dryness resulting from the removal of water
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
A condition caused by the loss of too much water from the body. Severe diarrhea or vomiting can cause dehydration.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)
The list of organs typically affected by Dehydration may include, but is not limited to:
The list below shows some of the causes of Dehydration mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Dehydration. Of the 284 causes of Dehydration that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Dehydration' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Dehydration or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Dehydration or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.
Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.
This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Dehydration based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Dehydration, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.
Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :
Subtypes of Dehydration:
Medical Conditions associated with Dehydration:
Symptoms related to Dehydration:
Headache (2433 causes), Fever (2274 causes), Diarrhea (2312 causes), Vomiting (2819 causes), Pyrexia, Excessive bleeding (1783 causes), Excessive sweating (100 causes), Excessive sun exposure, Inadequate fluid intake
Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:
These general medical articles may be of interest:
Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Dehydration and many other medical conditions:
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