Your body is at least 55 percent water and it varies depending on your age and gender. Adult women are 55 percent water and adult men are 60 percent. Infants are made up of the most water at 78 percent, according to the USGS.

Water helps to regulate body temperature, form saliva, deliver oxygen to the body, and helps to aid in many more functions. Not consuming enough water can have an effect on these bodily functions and cause dehydration. In fact, if you feel thirsty you are already mildly dehydrated, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Dehydration Symptoms

Dehydration Symptoms

General symptoms of dehydration include headache, dizziness, and fatigue. Anyone can become dehydrated if they are not drinking enough water. However infants and children, as well as older adults, are at a higher risk for dehydration.

Signs in Adults

Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Not urinating very often
  • Urine that is dark yellow
  • Cool, dry skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

Signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Not urinating at all or urine being a very dark yellow
  • Very dry skin
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Rapid heartbeat or breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, confusion, lack of energy, or irritability
  • Fainting

Signs in Babies & Young Children

There are a few symptoms of dehydration that are unique to babies and young children, according to WebMD. Those include:

  • Dry tongue and mouth
  • Dry diapers for at least three hours
  • No tears if crying
  • Lack of energy, sleepiness, or irritability
  • Sunken eyes

What is Chronic Dehydration?

The amount of water a person needs each day varies and is dependent on factors like a person’s metabolism and activity levels. People at risk for chronic dehydration include people participating in routine physical activity, people experiencing acute vomiting and diarrhea, heat exposure, some health conditions, and medications.

People can become chronically dehydrated if they consistently do not drink enough water to replenish their body’s loss of fluids. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Passing darker urine than is typical
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Constipation
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Kidney, heart, or digestive function that is altered

How Does Dehydration Impact Blood Pressure?

According to healthline, dehydration can cause low blood pressure due to a decrease in blood volume. When you are dehydrated, the amount of fluid circulating in your blood can decrease, which causes your blood pressure to decrease. A high blood pressure reading may result from an increase in a hormone called vasopressin. This hormone is secreted when there is a high amount of sodium in the blood, or when your blood volume is low.

Are Kidney Stones Linked to Dehydration?

Yes, dehydration can contribute to kidney stone formation, according to The Ohio State University. In fact, not drinking enough water is “the most common reason people develop kidney stones.”

A kidney stone forms when salts and minerals stick together. Not drinking enough water can increase the chance of the crystals to form. Medical providers typically see a spike in patients with kidney stones after summertime holidays. This is typically when people are outside in the hot weather and not consuming enough water.

If you are experiencing kidney pain from dehydration, the Urology Specialists recommend taking an Epsom salt bath, applying heat, and using non-aspirin pain killers to ease the pain. If you believe you have a kidney stone, they suggest monitoring your alcohol consumption.

Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion

Dehydration can contribute to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion occurs after “losing excess amounts of water and salt,” while heat stroke occurs when your body cannot control its internal temperature. Heat exhaustion includes symptoms like general weakness, heavy sweating, faster heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and possible fainting. Taking a cold shower and hydrating with sports drinks and water can help alleviate symptoms.

Heat stroke is serious and requires treatment from a medical professional if your temperature is above 104 degrees.

Dehydration Treatment: What is the Fastest Way to Cure Dehydration?

The Mayo Clinic recommends that the “only effective treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and lost electrolytes.”

Infants and children can replenish fluids by drinking over-the-counter oral rehydration solutions. Diluted sports drinks are also an option for older children. Adults can drink more water and other liquids. Replacing lost fluids is the quickest way to cure dehydration.

For severe dehydration, an IV with salts and fluids may be necessary.

How to Stay Hydrated to Prevent Dehydration

This should come at no surprise, but the best way to stay hydrated is to drink fluids like water. Some people may also need to replenish the sodium in their bodies. These people are known as salty sweaters, according to healthline. You may be a salty sweater if your sweat stings your eyes or if you get muscle cramps when exercising. Other ways to stay hydrated include:

  • Drinking coffee and tea
  • Drinking skim or low fat milk
  • Eating fruits and vegetables – this is also how you can replenish lost sodium. The salty sweaters may also need to consume electrolytic drinks

Visit Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine Today!

If you are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of dehydration, schedule an urgent care visit or walk-in to an Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine clinic today! We are open 7 days a week with locations along the Denver metro area. Click here to view our list of clinics and to schedule your visit.