March 9, 2020

Dehydration – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Dehydration can be a severe medical condition that worsens the longer you go without proper fluid intake. This condition occurs when you lose more fluid than you bring in, and your body doesn’t have enough fluid to perform its daily functions. But what causes dehydration, and what are the symptoms? How do you treat it? Find out below.

Dehydration Causes

Dehydration can occur for simple reasons, like if you’re busy or sick and don’t drink enough during the day. Maybe you don’t have access to clean drinking water because you’re hiking. Other dehydration causes include: 

  • Diarrhea – If you have diarrhea that comes on suddenly, it can cause your body to lose a massive amount of electrolytes and fluid at once. If you vomit at the same time, you’ll lose more fluids.

  • Excessive Sweating – When you sweat, you lose water. Vigorous or intensive exercise sessions can cause excessive sweating. If you don’t drink to replace the fluid your lose, dehydration is a common result.

  • Fever – The higher your temperature climbs, the more dehydrated you become. If you experience vomiting or diarrhea with your fever, the lack of fluid can become even worse.

Dehydration Symptoms

Experiencing symptoms isn’t a reliable indicator that your body needs water early on. You will typically see the onset of symptoms after the dehydration process is well underway. Common symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Listlessness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine

Dehydration Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing dehydration is a straightforward process. Your doctor will look for physical symptoms like low blood pressure. They may perform a urinalysis or a blood test to get a definitive answer. A urinalysis will tell your doctor how dehydrated you are, and a blood test will measure your electrolyte levels.

Fortunately, you can treat early-onset dehydration by slowly increasing your fluid intake. Mild or moderate dehydration will reverse after you regulate your fluid levels. Start slowly and suck on ice chips. You can gradually increase your intake by drinking water of Gatorade to replenish your fluid and electrolyte levels. Severe dehydration will require a visit to the doctor for IV fluids. 

How Telemedicine Can Help

You’ll use your smartphone to connect to a doctor from your home. The doctor can perform a visual assessment and ask you about how you feel. They’ll you to tell them about any symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea, and they’ll ask about your fluid intake.

Based on what they find, they’ll recommend the best treatment course. You may not have to leave your home, and you can slowly rehydrate on your time. Contact us to find out more.