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Dehydration Can Be A Serious Condition

Here, an overview from the Mayo Clinic on an often neglected health issue:

Dehydration – this happens when you use or more fluid than you take in; as a result, you don’t have enough water and fluids to carry out normal functions of the body. Without replacing fluids, you will get dehydrated.

According to Mayo, common causes of dehydration include vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather; intense diarrhea; vomiting; fever or excessive sweating. Dehydration can happen in hot weather, even if you are not exercising. At risk: older adults, people with chronic illness and children.

Mayo says that although you can reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking fluids, there are more severe cases that need treatment. The safest approach, the experts say is to prevent denydration in the first place. Know how much fluid you lose during hot weather, exercise or illness, and stay adequately hydrated.

The Mayo experts say that some serious conditions may occur in extreme cases of hydration:

Heat injury This happens if you don’t hydrate while exercising vigorously and sweating heavily. Possible repercussions include mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentiall fatal heatstroke.

    Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema) Sometimes, the Mayo experts say, when you’re getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. It is especially serious when brain cells are affected.

Seizures Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, Mayo says,  the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, and that may lead to involuntary muscle contractions and even loss of consciousness.

  Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock) One of the most serious complications of dehydration; it can even be life-threatening. According to the Mayo experts, it occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.

Kidney failure Another possibly life-saving problem; it happens when your kidneys can’t remove excess fluid and waste from your blood.

Coma and death When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

For more information from the Mayo Clinic (, on dehydration, click here.


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