So how bad are dehydration effects? Well, considering that your body is 75% water, the effects can be profound. Muscles are 75% water, blood is 82% water, the lungs are 90% water, your brain is 85% water and even your bones are 25% water. In the short term, your body is able to ration water if your level of dehydration is minimal, but over the long term, even mild chronic dehydration can cause serious problems. Below are the short term effects.
Short term dehydration should be treated with immediate replenishment of
fluids lost with pure water and some salt (preferably a high quality sea salt) at a level of 1/4 teaspoon
of salt for every 5 glasses of water. In more severe cases, you can add a
little glucose or regular table sugar to help increase the absorption
rate of the water. Moderate dehydration may require medical intervention
and IV replacement of fluids and electrolytes. If you have symptoms of
severe dehydration, that is a medical emergency. Call 911, because
this is a life threatening condition that will need IV fluid and
electrolyte replacement, and patient monitoring. Dehydration is the
number one cause of death in children worldwide... usually secondary to
diarrhea and vomiting. Find out more about dehydration treatment.
During pregnancy, dehydration occurs more easily and is more dangerous. It can also increase common discomforts of pregnancy, such as nausea and heartburn.
Kids often resist drinking water. (I know mine do!) They are too busy... It doesn't taste good... etc. How do you know if your children are dehydrated? What symptoms should you be watching for? I have some suggestions for how to prevent dehydration in kids and infants.
Next, check out my section on chronic dehydration.