What Is Dehydration? What To Do? First Symptoms

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Video: What Is Dehydration? What To Do? First Symptoms

Video: What Is Dehydration? What To Do? First Symptoms
Video: What is Dehydration? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, March
What Is Dehydration? What To Do? First Symptoms
What Is Dehydration? What To Do? First Symptoms

Dehydration of the body

Water takes part in all processes in the body. Dehydration is dangerous, as it leads to metabolic disorders and the development of various diseases. However, dehydration in itself can be a symptom of pathology. Therefore, it is so important to know as much information as possible regarding this state. Doctors call dehydration dehydration.


  • What is dehydration?
  • The body's need for water
  • First symptoms
  • Types of dehydration
  • Degree of dehydration
  • Causes of dehydration in adults
  • When to seek medical attention?
  • Diagnosis of dehydration
  • What to drink for dehydration at home?
  • Medicines prescribed for dehydration in healthcare facilities
  • Effects of dehydration on various body systems
  • Prevention of dehydration
  • If you don't like drinking clean water, what should you do?

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is the loss of fluid in the body when water supplies are rapidly depleting and cannot meet all of its needs. Water leaves the body during breathing, it leaves the body with sweat, urine, feces. Together with it, a certain amount of minerals is removed. Normally, these losses recover during the day. If this does not happen, then the balance is disturbed, dehydration develops. Its severe form can be fatal.

The body's need for water

The body's need for water
The body's need for water

The human body can not only accumulate, but also retain nutrients for a long time. This is possible only if it does not experience a water shortage. In general, a person cannot survive without it for more than 3 days. About 2/3 of the total body weight is liquid. Even a slight drop in the water level causes serious disturbances. The fact is that cells cannot maintain their existence in an overly viscous environment.

The system that ensures the balance of biochemical processes in the body is called homeostasis. If it is violated, then the normal functioning of organs and systems becomes impossible.

Fluid in the human body can be in 3 states:

  • Blood that circulates through the blood vessels.
  • Intercellular fluid, which is located in the intercellular space.

  • Intracellular fluid, which contains all the structures of living cells.

For cells, water is very important, as it is a nutrient medium for them.

As the body ages, the volume of water in it begins to decrease. In children who have just been born, it accounts for 80% of the total body weight. In adults, this figure drops to 60%. Children lose fluid much faster than adults. This is due to the fact that the system that controls the water-salt metabolism is poorly debugged.

By the age of 70, the indicators of intracellular and intercellular fluid decrease from 1.1 to 0.8. This negatively affects the functioning of all internal systems. Therefore, doctors strongly advise people not to drive themselves to thirst. Drink water as often as possible. Water provides nutrition to the cells, and dehydrated cells cannot function normally.

First symptoms

First symptoms
First symptoms

The first symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst.
  • Drying of mucous membranes.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Slimming. A person with dehydration loses at least 5% of their body weight.

Older people do not suffer from thirst as badly as young people.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to other signs of dehydration:

  • Lack of desire to eat.
  • An inexplicable feeling of tiredness.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Increased body temperature.

Types of dehydration

Depending on the nature of fluid loss and how long ago dehydration developed, there are 3 types of it:

Types of dehydration
Types of dehydration

Hypertensive (water-deficient, intracellular) dehydration. This type of dehydration occurs when excess water is excreted from the body. Such a situation is observed with severe diarrhea, against the background of increased body temperature, with dyspnea and hyperhidrosis. At the same time, the level of electrolytes in the blood plasma increases (sodium salts become most of all).

To replenish the loss of water, intercellular fluid begins to enter the bloodstream, which leads to an increase in osmotic pressure. To normalize it, the cells themselves begin to release water into the intercellular space. As a result of this process, dehydration of the body develops.

Its main symptoms are:

  • Thirst and dryness of the mouth.
  • Dry skin.
  • Impaired consciousness.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Increased body temperature.
  • Reducing the amount of urine excreted.

Hypotonic (hypoosmotic, extracellular) dehydration. This type of dehydration of the body develops due to the fact that it loses more electrolytes than water. At the same time, the osmotic blood concentration begins to decrease. This situation occurs with profuse vomiting, which is much stronger than diarrhea.

To normalize hemostasis, the body directs sodium salts from the intercellular space into the bloodstream. In this case, water from the bloodstream passes into the interstitium of the cells. As the osmolar concentration of the intercellular fluid decreases, it begins to penetrate into the cells. Potassium electrolytes are displaced from cells and excreted in urine. There is too much water in the cells, as most of the liquid rushes into them.

Symptoms of this type of dehydration include:

  • Sagging skin.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Lack of desire to drink water.
  • Dyspnea.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Vomiting that develops after drinking water.

Isotonic dehydration. This type of dehydration of the body occurs due to the fact that both water and electrolytes are removed from it at the same time. They become equally few in the lymph flow, blood and tissues. Osmolarity and level of sodium ions in the blood remain normal. It is isotonic dehydration that occurs most often. The patient's well-being can be moderate, but sometimes severe dehydration of the body is observed.

The symptoms of isotonic dehydration are as follows:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Light thirst.
  • Deafness of heart sounds.

Degree of dehydration

There are 4 degrees of dehydration, which depend on the amount of fluid lost:

  1. Light dehydration. The body loses 1-3% of water, but not more than 1.5 liters. Hospitalization is not required; lost fluids are replenished by oral dehydration. It is recommended to take a few tablespoons of water every 15 minutes. Recovery is fast, no medical attention is required.

  2. Moderate dehydration. Water loss is 3-6%, but not more than 3 liters. If at home it is not possible to restore the fluid lost by the body, then medical assistance is required. The doctor recommends taking Rehydron, since it will not be possible to stabilize the patient's condition with water alone.

  3. Severe dehydration. Liquid losses are 6-9%. The patient is urgently hospitalized, in the hospital ward he is given an IV. Self-medication threatens with serious complications.

  4. Significant dehydration develops when water losses exceed 10%. In such a situation, the patient develops problems in the work of internal organs, and a lethal outcome may occur.

degree of dehydration
degree of dehydration

Causes of dehydration in adults

Causes of dehydration in adults
Causes of dehydration in adults

The following reasons can lead to dehydration:

  • Acute intestinal infections accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting. If the patient develops vomiting, then digestive juices and liquid, which is contained in the upper parts of the digestive system, come out. Together with it, sodium, potassium and chlorine ions leave the body. During vomiting, the patient cannot replenish fluid reserves by the oral route. When a person develops diarrhea, the fluid leaves the body very quickly, since the blood plasma pressure is higher than the pressure inside the intestine.

  • Diseases in which the body temperature rises. Dehydration against the background of infectious diseases occurs due to high body temperature and shortness of breath. Sometimes water loss is increased by opening vomiting and diarrhea. High body temperature always leads to fluid loss. Patients direct efforts to achieve perspiration. To do this, they take as much tea as possible, but the loss of water in this case will be even more significant.

  • Consumption of large volumes of coffee, tea, carbonated drinks. If a person drinks a lot of coffee, tea, beer or alcoholic beverages, then he supplies not only water to the body, but also components that contribute to dehydration, for example, caffeine. It has been proven that when taking these drinks, water loss is higher than its intake.

  • Taking medications: indapaphone, diuretics and some others. As for taking medications, the body will spend water on assimilating any drug. This contributes to increased dehydration. Moreover, in 90% of cases, people take drugs without real need and without medical advice. Fighting the symptoms of the disease, rather than its root cause, leads to the fact that the state of health worsens even more.

  • Through sweat, water leaves the body daily. A person actively sweats during sports. Therefore, when going to workout, you must definitely take water with you.

  • Frequent urination. It is observed in people with diabetes mellitus, in which the absorption of glucose in the body is disrupted. If the pancreas produces little insulin, then the person will suffer from severe thirst. The more he drinks, the more often he goes to the toilet. Similar symptoms can occur with diabetes insipidus. This disease develops due to a deficiency in the body of the pituitary antidiuretic hormone. The patient also suffers from severe thirst and urinates frequently.

  • Situations in which water does not enter the body for a long time.

Children lose a lot of water when they actively move and play. Physical activity for children is the norm, but fluid volumes must be replenished in a timely manner. This needs to be watched by adults.

When to seek medical attention?

When to contact
When to contact

You should seek medical attention in the following cases:

  • Profuse diarrhea does not stop within 2 days.
  • Vomiting lasts longer than a day.
  • The body temperature rises to 39 ° C and above.
  • The patient has a breakdown.
  • Little urine comes out, a person rarely goes to the toilet.
  • Weight is dropping rapidly.

Sometimes situations arise in which you need to call an ambulance:

  • Body temperature reaches 40 ° C.
  • No urination for 12 hours.
  • The patient's orientation in space worsens, fainting occurs, or he becomes lethargic and apathetic, his head hurts badly or pains in the chest appear.
  • The pulse becomes threadlike, breathing becomes difficult, convulsions occur.

If in such a situation a person is not provided with medical assistance, then he may die.

Diagnosis of dehydration

Diagnosis of dehydration
Diagnosis of dehydration

Diagnosis of dehydration boils down to examining the patient, performing various tests, blood and urine tests. It is important not only to state the fact of dehydration of the body, but also to find out the cause of its occurrence.

Assessment of health indicators:

  • If the patient has a high body temperature, low blood pressure, breathing and heartbeat are rapid, then these are symptoms of dehydration.
  • Evaluation of pulse and blood pressure level in the supine and standing positions. When a person lies down and then gets up, the pressure decreases slightly, then the heart rate increases and the pressure returns to normal. When a person develops dehydration, there is not enough blood circulating in the body. Therefore, the heart will always beat faster, the head will start to spin when lifting, the person will feel weak.

Delivery of urine for analysis:

  • Assessment of the color and transparency of urine, its specific gravity and the presence of ketone bodies in it. All of these signs help diagnose dehydration.
  • If glucose is present in urine, then this may indicate developing diabetes mellitus.
  • Kidney disease is indicated by the presence of protein in the urine.
  • Sometimes urine allows you to suspect certain infections.

Blood test:

  • In terms of diagnosing dehydration, it is important to assess the level of salts, electrolytes, glucose, protein and creatinine in the blood.
  • A biochemical blood test allows you to clarify the presence of an infectious process.
  • The blood can be sent for additional testing. The need for them is carried out by a doctor.

What to drink for dehydration at home?

What to drink when dehydrated
What to drink when dehydrated

To replenish the body's reserves of water and salts, you need to add salt solutions to the water, or prepare them separately.

Drugs used for rehydration:

  • Tour.
  • Hydrovit.
  • Orasan.
  • Orsol
  • Rehydrare.

They come in the form of powder or granules, which dissolve quickly in water. You can make a saline solution yourself by adding a spoonful of salt to the water (a teaspoon of sodium chloride is required per liter of liquid). You need to drink not because you are thirsty, but because it is a necessity. The closer the liquid temperature is to the human body temperature, the faster it will be absorbed.

Dehydration in children at home can only be treated if it is mild. The child is offered the same drugs as the adult. They are drunk in the quantities in which the liquid is excreted from the body. If the child is an infant, then it must be fed through a syringe without a needle.

You can only cope at home with mild dehydration. In other situations, you must consult a doctor.

Medicines prescribed for dehydration in healthcare facilities


Moderate dehydration and severe dehydration should be treated with IVs. This is the only way to quickly restore fluid loss and lost blood volumes. For this, Ringer's solution, saline, glucose, trisol, disol are used. Gemodez and Polyglukin are prescribed in the case when it is required to remove the symptoms of intoxication from the body. They are indicated for bleeding, as they prevent further excretion of fluid from the body.

If the patient's body temperature rises, then it needs to be brought down using antipyretic drugs.

To eliminate vomiting, antiemetics are prescribed, for example, Sturgeon.

Preparations such as Gastrolit, Regidron, Oralit or other powder salt preparations are used only as an auxiliary treatment.

Effects of dehydration on various body systems

If severe vomiting and diarrhea lead to dehydration, then in addition to water, electrolytes are excreted from the body in significant volumes. This becomes the reason for the movement of water from the intercellular space into the bloodstream. Therefore, in the general blood flow, the fluid becomes even less.

Dehydration for the brain

Dehydration for the brain
Dehydration for the brain

The brain suffers from hypoxia, as its blood supply deteriorates. Its natural defense in the form of the blood-brain barrier is reduced. The blood-brain barrier is understood as the barrier between the capillary network and the neurons of the nervous system. They, normally, do not allow harmful substances to enter the central nervous system.

Dehydration and a decrease in the barrier function leads to the fact that toxins enter the brain, which in the future can lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Against the background of dehydration, first, the level of intracellular fluid decreases to 66%, then the level of intercellular fluid decreases by 25%, after which 8% of water is extracted from the blood. The body triggers this mechanism in order to provide nutrition to the brain. After all, it is 85% water. If the brain loses even 1% of the fluid, it will lead to its irreversible damage.

Dehydration and blood cells

Against the background of dehydration, such processes occur as:

  • The blood gets thicker.
  • The lumens of the vessels are narrowed.
  • The blood becomes viscous.
  • Blood clots are more likely to form.

Against the background of dehydration, blood cells lose their natural activity and stick to each other. Such associates are not able to perform their functions correctly, they cannot seep through the cell membranes, therefore the blood flow deteriorates. It must be remembered that the adhesion of erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets is the main factor leading to the development of atherosclerosis.

The immune system

The immune system reacts to dehydration by triggering chronic immunodeficiency diseases, such as bronchial asthma or scleroderma. This can also include infertility, bronchitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.


Obese people may not even be aware that being overweight is a consequence of dehydration. The less water in cells, the more they need energy, which they take from food. This promotes fat storage. Moreover, starches and proteins are often the source of such energy. Therefore, dehydration and obesity are closely related.

Prevention of dehydration

Prevention of dehydration
Prevention of dehydration

To prevent the development of dehydration, the following preventive measures must be observed:

  • If a person knows that he will sweat, he needs to provide himself with drinking water. Stress and physical activity lead to its elimination from the body. You need to drink as much as you want.
  • You should not play sports in a hot or hot environment.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that children and the elderly receive sufficient water. They must have constant access to fluid. It is recommended to drink more water for people with hearing impairments.
  • You can not drink alcoholic beverages in the heat
  • In hot weather, you should always have a bottle of water with you. Clothing should be light so that the body does not suffer from heat.

If you don't like drinking clean water, what should you do?

Sometimes drinking a lot of plain water doesn't taste good. To make this task easier for yourself, you can add fruits or berries to it. Water with citrus fruits makes a person more cheerful.

If you add pineapple to the water, you will be able not only to improve its taste, but also to lose weight. It contains antioxidants that prevent radicals from damaging human cells. They help fight atherosclerosis, arthritis, and cancer.

Apple water with ginger adds energy. You need to drink it in the morning.


Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist

Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".

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