Dehydration: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosing, And Treatment

Dehydration: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosing, And Treatment

September 1, 2022

Dehydration is a condition that occurs when there is a significant loss of fluid in the body. It happens because you lose more fluids than you take in, creating a scenario in which the body cannot work properly because it does not have enough fluids.

While anyone can become dehydrated, there are some individuals at an increased risk:

  • young children
  • older adults
  • people who take medications that cause them to sweat or urinate more
  • those with chronic diseases that cause them to sweat or urinate more (e.g., cystic fibrosis, diabetes, kidney problems)
  • those who exercise or work outside in hot weather

Causes of Dehydration

The following are some of the most common causes of dehydration:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • urinating too much (typically because of a medication or illness)
  • sweating too much
  • not drinking enough
  • fever


The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dry mouth
  • extreme thirst
  • dry skin
  • dark-colored urine
  • dizziness
  • generalized weakness

The above are symptoms of mild dehydration. When dehydration becomes more severe, it can become life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

Call Now – 832-619-7937

Be sure to seek emergency services if the above symptoms are accompanied by:

  • fainting
  • confusion
  • lack of urination
  • rapid breathing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • shock

Diagnosing Dehydration

If you visit a health care provider for dehydration, they will perform a physical exam and discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. To aid in diagnosing dehydration, they may have you complete a urine test.

Additional tests that are used to diagnose dehydration include blood tests that check your electrolyte levels, which play an essential role in keeping the balance of fluids in the body, or the function of your kidney.

Treatment for Dehydration

The treatment for dehydration involves replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost. For some people, especially in mild cases, this may include drinking a lot of water or sports drinks (to replenish electrolytes).

However, more severe cases of dehydration may require treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids with salt to the Emergency room.

Depending on the cause of the dehydration, there may be additional treatment required. For example, if dehydration is due to diabetes, you will have to begin diabetes treatment and learn how to manage your blood sugar levels.

Key Takeaways

Dehydration can range from mild to severe cases, but they all stem from a loss of fluids and electrolytes within the body often due to diarrhea, vomiting, or drinking too little. Dehydration can become life-threatening if not treated, so be sure to visit with a health care provider to diagnose dehydration, determine its cause, and receive treatment.