Two-third of the human body is made up of water, most of it being inside the cell, or intracellular. The rest is seen outside the cells, but inside the blood vessels. When water that leaves the body is greater than the water that is taken in, dehydration occurs. Normally water is lost in many ways, such as breathing- to humidify the air, sweating- to cool the body, and urinating- to eliminate wastes from the body.
Body water is tightly regulated by the thirst mechanism and kidneys. Hormones such as anti-diuretic hormones work within the kidneys.
1) Excess loss of water:
· excessive sweating –such as in fever
· diabetes- where high blood sugars take water with it in the urine
· burns- damage skin cannot hold water in
2) Insufficient intake:
· inability to drink
· disabled thirst mechanisms
In mild to moderate dehydration, symptoms include:
· dry mouth and mucus membranes
· decreased urine output
· muscle weakness
In severe dehydration, symptoms include:
· sleepiness in infants
· irritability and confusion in adults
· lack of sweating
· no urine output
· sunken eyes
· sunken fontanella in babies
· low blood pressure
· rapid heart beat
· loss of consciousness
These are dangerous conditions which can lead to death very quickly if not treated.