Dehydration occurs when there isn't enough water to replace what's lost throughout the day. Your system literally dries out. Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don't drink enough because you're sick or busy, or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you're traveling, hiking or camping.
Other dehydration causes include:
Feb. 12, 2014
- Diarrhea, vomiting. Severe, acute diarrhea — that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently — can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time. If you have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals. Children and infants are especially at risk. Diarrhea may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, food sensitivity, a reaction to medications or a bowel disorder.
- Fever. In general, the higher your fever, the more dehydrated you may become. If you have a fever in addition to diarrhea and vomiting, you lose even more fluids.
- Excessive sweating. You lose water when you sweat. If you do vigorous activity and don't replace fluids as you go along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose. But you can also become dehydrated in winter if you don't replace lost fluids. Preteens and teens who participate in sports may be especially susceptible, both because of their body weight, which is generally lower than that of adults, and because they may not be experienced enough to know the warning signs of dehydration.
- Increased urination. This may be due to undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. Certain medications, such as diuretics and some blood pressure medications, also can lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate or perspire more than normal.
- Dehydration in children. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/dehydration_and_fluid_therapy_in_children/dehydration_in_children.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Accessed Aug.19, 2013.
- Somers MJ. Clinical assessment and diagnosis of hypovolemia (dehydration) in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 17, 2013.
- Sterns RH. Etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of volume depletion in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 17, 2013.
- Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/. Accessed Aug. 18, 2013.
- Popkin BM, et al. Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews. 2010;68:439.
- Selecting and effectively using hydration for fitness. American College of Sports Medicine. http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness.pdf. Accessed Aug. 16, 2013.
- Rodriguez NR, et al. Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2009;41:709.
- Montain SJ. Hydration recommendations for sport 2008. Current Sports Medicine Reports. 2008;7:187.
- Thomas DR, et al. Understanding clinical dehydration and its treatment. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2008;9:292.
- Niescierenko M. Advances in pediatric dehydration therapy. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2013;25:304.
- Canavan A, et al. Diagnosis and management of dehydration in children. American Family Physician. 2009;80:692.
- Sterns RH. General principles of disorders of water balance (hyponatremia and hypernatremia) and sodium balance (hypovolemia and edema). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 17, 2013.
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