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What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« on: September 01, 2019, 01:27:05 PM »

What Is Dehydration in Adults?

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Dehydration Facts

1. Dehydration is a condition that occurs when an individual has lost so much fluid that the body can no longer function normally and develops signs and symptoms due to the loss of fluid.

2. Adults should seek medical care for suspected dehydration if experiencing decreased production of urine, fever over 101 F, seizures, difficulty breathing, or chest or abdominal pain.

3. Medical treatment of dehydration in adults may involve drinking fluids that contain electrolytes and carbohydrates, in addition to water. In cases of severe dehydration, it may be necessary to administer IV fluids.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2019, 01:27:54 PM »

Dehydration is a condition that can occur when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of individual cells and then out of the body than the amount of water that is taken in through drinking. Medically, dehydration usually means a person has lost enough fluid so that the body begins to lose its ability to function normally and then begins to produce symptoms related to the fluid loss. Although infants and children are at highest risk for dehydration, many adults and especially the elderly have significant risk factors.

People (and animals) lose water every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale, and as water in our sweat, urine, and stool. Along with the water, we also lose small amounts of salts or electrolytes. Our bodies are constantly readjusting the balance between water (and salts or electrolytes) losses with fluid intake. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated. Most doctors divide dehydration into three stages: 1) mild, 2) moderate and 3) severe. Mild and often even moderate dehydration can be reversed or put back in balance by oral intake of fluids that contain electrolytes (or salts) that are lost during activity. If unrecognized and untreated, some instances of moderate and severe dehydration can lead to death. This article is designed to discuss dehydration in adults.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2019, 01:29:12 PM »

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2019, 01:32:18 PM »

What Causes Dehydration in Adults?

Many conditions may cause rapid and continued fluid losses and lead to dehydration.

1. Fever, heat exposure, too much exercise, or work-related activity

2. Vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination due to infection

3. Diseases such as diabetes

4. The inability to seek appropriate water and food (an infant or disabled person, for example)

5. An impaired ability to drink (someone in a coma or on a respirator, or a sick infant who cannot suck on a bottle are common examples)

6. No access to safe drinking water

7. Significant injuries to skin, such as burns or mouth sores, severe skin diseases, or infections (water is lost through the damaged skin)

In addition to drinking water, the body also needs replacement of electrolytes (for example, potassium and sodium) lost with the above mentioned conditions, so drinking water without electrolyte replacement may not complete the balance of water and electrolytes the body has lost. Some symptoms (see below) may remain if this balance is not restored.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2019, 04:18:34 PM »

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults?

The signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults range from minor to severe.

Mild to moderate dehydration may include the following:

1. Increased thirst

2. Dry mouth

3. Tired or sleepy

4. Decreased urine output

5. Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal

6. Headache

7. Dry skin

8. Dizziness

9. Few or no tears

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2019, 05:02:24 PM »

The above symptoms may quickly worsen and indicate severe dehydration with signs and symptoms developing; severe dehydration may include the following:

1. Severely decreased urine output or no urine output. The urine, if any, produced is concentrated and a deep yellow or amber color.

2. Dizziness or lightheadedness that does not allow the person to stand or walk normally.

3. Blood pressure drops when the person tries to stand after lying down (low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension)

4. Rapid heart rate

5. Fever

6. Poor skin elasticity (skin slowly sinks back to its normal position when pinched)

7. Lethargy, confusion, or coma

8. Seizure

9. Shock

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2019, 05:06:19 PM »

When to Seek Medical Care for Dehydration in Adults

Call a primary care doctor if the affected individual with potentially mild to moderate dehydration experiences any of the following:

1. Increased or constant vomiting for more than a day

2. Fever over 101 F (38.3 C), but less than 103 F (39.4)

3. Diarrhea for more than 2 days

4. Weight loss

5. Decreased urine production

6. Weakness

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2019, 05:07:53 PM »

Take the person to the hospital's emergency department if these situations occur:

1. Fever higher than 103 F (39.4)

2. Confusion

3. Lethargy

4. Headache

5. Seizures

6. Difficulty breathing

7. Chest or abdominal pain

8. Fainting

9. No urine in the last 12 hours

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2019, 05:13:46 PM »

How Do Doctors Diagnose Dehydration in Adults?

The doctor may perform a variety of simple tests at the time of examination or send blood or urine samples to the laboratory. Through tests and examination, the doctor will try to identify the underlying cause or causes that led to the dehydration.

Vital signs

1. Fever, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and faster breathing are signs of potential dehydration and other illnesses.

2. Taking the pulse and blood pressure while the person is lying down and then after standing up for 1 minute can help determine the degree of dehydration. Normally, when a person has been lying down and then stands up, there is a small drop in blood pressure for a few seconds. The heart rate speeds up, and blood pressure returns to normal. However, when there is not enough fluid in the blood because of dehydration and the heart rate speeds up, not enough blood is supplied to the brain. The brain senses this condition. The heart beats faster, and if the person is dehydrated, they often feel dizzy and faint after standing up.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2019, 05:15:14 PM »

Urinalysis

1. The color and clarity of urine, the urine specific gravity (the mass of urine when compared with that of equal amounts of distilled water), and the presence of ketones (carbon compounds -- a sign the body is dehydrated) in the urine may all help to indicate the degree of dehydration.

2. Increased glucose in the urine may lead to a diagnosis of diabetes or indicate loss of diabetic control and a cause for the dehydration.

3. Excessive protein may signal kidney problems.

4. Signs of infections or other diseases, such as liver disease, may be found.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2019, 05:16:39 PM »

Blood chemistries

1. The amount of salts or electrolytes (sodium, potassium, bicarbonate) and glucose as well as indicators of kidney function (BUN and creatinine) may be important to evaluate the degree of dehydration and possible causes.

2. A complete blood count (CBC) may be ordered if the doctor thinks an underlying infection is causing the dehydration. Other blood tests, such as liver function tests, may be indicated to find causes of the symptoms.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2019, 05:19:03 PM »

What Are Treatment Options for Dehydration in Adults?

Dehydration treatment options for adults include home remedies like sipping on water, drinking sports drinks that replace lost nutrients, cooling the body, and removing any excess clothing from the person. Medical treatment for dehydration in adults includes hospitalization and replacement of fluids lost.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2019, 05:21:56 PM »

Are There Home Remedies for Dehydration in Adults?

Encourage people who are dehydrated (even those who have been vomiting) to take in fluids in the following ways:

1. Sip small amounts of water.

2. Drink carbohydrate/electrolyte-containing drinks. Good choices are sports drinks such as Gatorade or prepared replacement solutions (Pedialyte is one example).

3. Suck on popsicles made from juices and sports drinks.

4. Suck on ice chips.

5. Sip through a straw (works well for someone who has had jaw surgery or mouth sores).

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2019, 05:24:22 PM »

If someone shows signs of heat exposure or has an elevated temperature, try to cool the person down in the following ways:

1. Remove any excess clothing and loosen other clothing

2. Air-conditioned areas are best for helping return the affected individual's body temperature to normal and break the heat exposure cycle.

3. If air-conditioning is not available, increase cooling by evaporation by placing the person near fans or in the shade, if outside. Place a wet towel around the person.

4. If available, use a spray bottle or misters to spray tepid (luke-warm) water on exposed skin surfaces to help with cooling by evaporation.

5. Avoid exposing skin to excessive cold, such as ice packs or ice water. This can cause the blood vessels in the skin to constrict and will decrease, rather than increase heat loss. Exposure to excessive cold can also cause shivering, which will increase body temperature, this may cause the dehydration symptoms to become worse.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2019, 05:25:54 PM »

What Is the Medical Treatment for Dehydration in Adults?

Treatment in the emergency department centers first on restoring fluid (blood) volume and electrolytes, and treating any life-threatening symptoms while also trying to determine the underlying cause(s) of the dehydration.

If the affected individual's core body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C), doctors will cool the entire body. They may promote cooling by evaporation with mists and fans or cooling blankets and baths.

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Re: What Is Dehydration in Adults?
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2019, 05:27:42 PM »

Fluid replacement in moderate to severe dehydration

If there is no nausea and vomiting, fluid replacement may begin orally for some patients with moderate dehydration. Patients are asked to drink electrolyte/carbohydrate-containing fluids along with water.

However, if there are signs of moderate to severe dehydration (elevated resting heart rate, low blood pressure), fluids are generally given through an IV.

Disposition

1. If the patient's condition improves enough (most symptoms stop) in the emergency department, the patient may be sent home, preferably in the care of friends or family. This is not an unusual result for many patients who arrive at an emergency department with moderate dehydration symptoms.

2. If the patient remains dehydrated, confused, feverish, has persistently abnormal vital signs, or signs of infection, the person will likely be admitted to the hospital for additional treatment.

Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) or ibuprofen (for example, Advil) may be used. This can be given by mouth if the affected person is not vomiting or as a rectal suppository if he or she cannot take anything by mouth.



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