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Dehydration is the removal of water (hydor in ancient Greek) from an object. Medically, dehydration is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition in which the body contains an insufficient volume of water for normal functioning.

There are many ways in which and individual may become dehydrated, with the most common being the application of dry heated air. This causes evaporation of the surface water, which is replaced by water internally. Dehydration can be caused by a wide range of diseases and states that impair water homeostasis in the body. These include:

  • external or stress-related causes
  • bleeding or loss of fluids due to trauma
  • loose stools and/or vomiting
  • hyperthermia
  • shock
  • prolonged physical activity without consumption of adequate water, especially in hot environments
  • infectious diseases
  • cholera
  • gastroenteritis
  • shigellosis
  • malnutrition
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • excessive consumption of alcohol
  • fasting
  • severe hyperglycemia, especially in diabetes
  • glucosuria

dehydration symptoms

Symptoms of dehydration may include:

  • headaches similar to those caused durring a hangover
  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness or fainting when standing up due to orthostatic hypotension

Untreated dehydration generally results in:

  • delirium
  • unconsciousness
  • death

When looking at advanced stages of prolonged dehydration, one might see the symptoms and signs as follows:

  • The mouth may dry out and become caked or coated with thick material.
  • The lips may become parched and cracked.
  • The tongue would begin to swell, and crack.
  • The eyes may recede back into the orbits and the cheeks may become hollow.
  • The lining of the nose may crack and cause the nose to bleed.
  • The skin may hang loose on the body and become dry and scaly.
  • The urine may become highly concentrated, leading to burning of the bladder.
  • The lining of the stomach would dry out and the sufferer would experience dry heaves and vomiting.
  • The body temperature would become very high.
  • The brain cells would dry out, causing convulsions.
  • The respiratory tract would dry out, and the thick secretions that would result could plug the lungs and cause death.
  • At some point within five days to three weeks, the major organs, including the lungs, heart, and brain, would give out and the individual would die.

Posted by Staff at June 15, 2005 7:02 AM

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Comments Archive

Very nice site and very informativity!

Posted by: Egrosiyj at December 6, 2006 1:41 PM