What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is a condition when the body loses more fluid than it gets, so that the balance of sugar and salt becomes disrupted, as a result the body cannot function normally. The healthy water content in the human body is more than 60% of total body weight. The ideal water content in the body functions to help the digestive system work, removing impurities and poisons from the body, as lubricants and pads for joints, moisturizing tissues in the ears, throat, and also the nose, and as a nutrient transportation medium for cells. body cells and keep skin healthy.

Dehydration is sometimes considered a problem of body conditions that do not need to be taken seriously, and most children and adolescents consider it normal thirst. However, if the initial symptoms of dehydration are not handled properly, it can interfere with bodily functions. Some of the early signs of symptoms of dehydration are:
  • Feeling thirsty and dizzy.
  • Dry mouth and skin .
  • Fatigue.
  • Rarely urinate.
  • Urine is darker, and smells stronger.
If dehydration occurs in infants , the initial symptoms that can be considered are the baby's crown will be concave, do not shed tears when crying, diapers remain dry after a few hours, less active, fussy, and easily drowsy.

One condition that is at risk for dehydration is diarrhea, especially if this occurs in infants and children. Dehydration can also be associated with weather, physical activity or exercise, and diet. In addition to diarrhea, dehydration is also at risk of appearing in conditions of vomiting, and excessive sweating, for example during a fever or exercising during hot weather.

If you feel dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids. You can drink water or diluted fruit juice. But if you are dehydrated because of diarrhea , fruit juice and milk should be avoided. Try to avoid drinks that contain caffeine and soft drinks. If untreated, dehydration can cause seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Symptoms of Dehydration
The first two signs of dehydration are thirst and dark yellow urine. This is the body's way of trying to increase fluids in the body and reduce fluid discharge. Depending on how much your body loses fluid, dehydration is divided into 2 levels, namely mild, and severe.

Moderate mild dehydration
Moderate dehydration will cause:
  • Thirst.
  • The urine color becomes more concentrated or darker.
  • The amount and frequency of urination decreases.
  • Dry and sticky mouth .
  • Easy to get sleepy and get tired quickly.
  • Headache.
  • Constipation.
  • Dizzy.
You can cure the dehydration process at this stage without medical assistance by drinking more fluids. If dehydration is allowed to continue for a long time, it can affect kidney function and increase the risk of getting kidney stones . In the end, it can also cause muscle damage.

Whereas in children and infants, the symptoms of dehydration are as follows:
  • When crying does not produce tears.
  • The eyes look concave inside.
  • Shrinking the crown.
  • The diaper stays dry for 12 hours.
  • The skin feels cold and dry.
  • Irritable and lethargic.
  • Dry and sticky mouth.
  • Fatigue and dizziness.
Heavy dehydration
Dehydration can be dangerous if left alone and not handled immediately. Severe dehydration is considered an emergency medical condition and requires rapid treatment. Symptoms that can occur when experiencing severe dehydration are:
  • Easy to get angry and look confused.
  • Tears don't come out and the mouth feels dry.
  • Heart rate is fast, but weak.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Eyes look sunken.
  • Fever.
  • The skin becomes elastic (it takes longer to return to origin after pinching).
  • Low blood pressure.
  • No urination for 8 hours. In infants, it becomes rare to change diapers.
  • Very dizzy or sleepy, especially in infants and children.
  • Seizures.
  • Decreased consciousness .
  • In children and infants, the feet and hands will feel cold, and blotchy-looking without itching or pain.
Dehydration at this level requires hospital treatment. You will be given an IV to restore the amount of fluid lost. If not treated seriously, it can cause complications.

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Causes of Dehydration
Dehydration is caused by a lack of fluid intake in the body, or the body loses more fluid than its intake. Fluids in the body can be wasted through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweat, and tears. In addition, weather, exercise, and food will greatly affect the severity of dehydration.

Dehydration can occur in everyone, but there are several groups of people who are more prone to dehydration due to the risks they have. Groups of people at risk for dehydration are:
  • Babies and children are more prone to dehydration because their small bodies make their bodies more sensitive to changes in water and mineral levels. This group also often experiences diarrhea.
  • Parents , become less attentive to drinking water and thirst. Moreover, parents who have problems with memory.
  • A tlet , will lose a lot of body fluids coming out through his sweat. All who exercise can experience dehydration. The longer you exercise, the harder it will be to stay hydrated. Especially runners, bicycle racing athletes, and soccer players.
  • People who exercise in hot and humid places. When the air is hot and humid, the risk of dehydration and pain increases. When the air is damp, sweat can evaporate and cool you down like normal, this will increase body temperature and we need more fluids.
  • People who live, work, and exercise in the highlands . They have the potential to get some health problems, one of which is dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the body tries to adapt to height by more urinating and breathing fast.
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting . Both of these conditions can be caused by various diseases, and cause a significant amount of loss of body fluids in a short time.
  • Experiencing excessive sweating. Fever, exercise, and strenuous activities such as carrying heavy loads or unskilled workers who work in hot places can get dehydrated due to the amount of sweat released. It is important to drink water regularly to replace wasted fluids. Children and teenagers are more at risk of dehydration because they do not understand the symptoms.
  • Suffering from chronic disease (long term). People with uncontrolled diabetes are at risk for dehydration. Due to high sugar levels, the body will produce a lot of urine with the aim of removing it. Because urinating too often, the body is at risk of dehydration. Other diseases that cause dehydration are kidney failure and heart disease .
  • Alcoholism . Alcohol is a diuretic, so it will make people urinate more often. Dehydration can occur if you consume too much alcoholic beverages.
  • Suffering from certain diseases. The following are some medical conditions that can cause dehydration, such as anorexia nervosa, cystic fibrosis , burns, and heat stroke .

Diagnosis of Dehydration
Dehydration is indeed a condition of the body that can be immediately handled independently and usually does not require special action. But if needed, you can see a doctor, especially if you are dehydrated with symptoms, such as:
  • Having diarrhea for more than 24 hours continuously.
  • Bloody or pitch black stools appear.
  • Being irritable, experiencing disorientation and unusual heavy drowsiness.
  • Unable to maintain adequate fluid intake, such as vomiting.
Doctors can diagnose dehydration in a person through a physical examination, such as skin conditions, respiratory rate, tears, and mucous membranes (eg the lining of the oral cavity). The doctor will also take blood pressure measurements, because people with dehydration are at risk of having low blood pressure. If needed, the doctor will also recommend patients to undergo blood tests (such as checking electrolyte levels in the blood) and urine tests .

Treatment of Dehydration
The main treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and minerals by drinking lots of water or runny fruit juice. Sweet drinks can help replace lost sugar, while salty snacks can replace lost salt or sodium. The best method of treating dehydration depends on the age of the patient and the severity of dehydration, as well as the cause.

ORS is one of the drugs used to treat dehydration. When you are dehydrated, your body will lose sugar, salt and liquid. Drinking ORS can restore the balance of the levels of these substances in the body. There are many ORS products that can be purchased freely. Consult your doctor to find out more about ORS.

Treat dehydration in babies
Mothers are encouraged to continue giving breast milk to babies when they experience diarrhea, vomiting, or fever. If the baby drinks formula milk, replace it with lactose-free formula until the diarrhea actually stops. Lactose is difficult to digest if the baby has diarrhea, even tends to worsen the condition of the diarrhea. Keep giving breast milk and adding ORS will replace lost fluids, salt and sugar.

Doctors can give advice on proper treatment if the baby is dehydrated. Immediately consult a doctor if there are signs of dehydration in the baby.

Treat dehydration in children
To treat dehydration in children, giving excessive water can actually make the mineral levels in the body decrease, and consequently worsen the condition of his body. Therefore, it is recommended to give ORS solutions to children. Can use a spoon to feed fluids to children who experience vomiting or have diarrhea.

Treat dehydration in athletes
For dehydration caused by exercise, energy drinks containing electrolytes and sugar are the best choices. Avoid all types of soft drinks.

Athletes are also at risk of getting hyponatremia if they drink too much mineral water in a short time. Hyponatremia can afflict athletes because much of the sodium (salt) in the blood comes out through sweat, and gets runny when large amounts of mineral water get into the body.

Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia are nausea, vomiting and headaches. If the condition gets worse, then a person can experience brain swelling which causes confusion, convulsions, coma , and even death.

Treat severe dehydration
Children and adults who are severely dehydrated must be immediately treated by a medical officer in the hospital, and chances are, this condition will require hospitalization. Patients can receive sugar, salt, and fluids through infusion. Infusion is a fast and effective way to restore the body's fluid and mineral levels to normal levels.

Complications and Prevention of Dehydration

Dehydration that is not handled properly can cause complications in your body. Some of the complications that can arise due to dehydration are not addressed, namely:
  • Seizures that arise due to disruption of electrolyte balance in the body, especially sodium and potassium.
  • Problems with the kidneys and urinary tract, especially if dehydration is experienced repeatedly. Dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and even kidney failure .
  • Injury due to high temperature ( heat injury ). If you are doing heavy physical activity, but not maintaining body fluid intake, you can experience dehydration which triggers heat injury . Symptoms of mild injury that can be classified as mild can be cramping. While the symptoms of weight can be fatigue and heat stroke .
  • Hypovolemic shock . This is a complication due to the most serious dehydration, and even has the potential to endanger your life. Lack of fluid can reduce the volume of blood in the body, so that blood pressure and oxygen levels decrease.

Prevention of dehydration
To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods that are high in water, such as fruits and vegetables. The example is:
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Carrot
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Apple
  • Wine
  • Orange
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
When exercising, don't wait until you feel thirsty for a drink. By drinking regularly, normal levels of fluids and minerals in the body can be maintained. If you are exercising, you need to drink more water than usual.

The amount of sweat released by each person can vary. Therefore, it is quite difficult to determine the right recommendations regarding how much fluid to drink. On average, for adults, you should drink two to three liters of water every day. As for children, everything depends on age, body size, and activities carried out. In conclusion, the more sweat that is released, the higher the water intake the body needs.

But if you drink lots of fluids that exceed what can be processed by the body, the effect can actually reduce salt or sodium levels in the blood. This can cause hyponatremia, so if you feel bloated stop drinking. Keep in mind that lack of salt or sodium in the body can be fatal.

The following are examples of conditions that require special attention regarding the importance of fluid requirements:
  • If there is a child or closest person who is sick, especially having a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, chances are he will get dehydrated. It is very important to replace body fluids as soon as possible.
  • For those who like to exercise, drink water before starting strenuous exercise. Clear urine color indicates that you have enough to drink water.
  • If you live in a hot and humid area, drink plenty of water to reduce body heat. Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks when the temperature is hot, because the alcohol content will increase the amount of water lost.

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