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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
Ohm Society
Dehydration Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Dehydration occurs as a result of excessive loss of body water without adequate replacement. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that cause vomiting or diarrhea may, for example, lead to dehydration. There are a number of other causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise (e.g., running a marathon), kidney disease, and medications (diuretics). One indicator of dehydration is a rapid drop in weight. A loss of over 10% (15 pounds in a person weighing 150 pounds) is considered severe. Symptoms and signs of dehydration include increasing thirst, dry mouth, weakness or lightheadedness (particularly if worse on standing), darkening of the urine or a decrease in urination. Severe dehydration can lead to changes in the body's chemistry, kidney failure, and become life-threatening. Dehydration due to diarrhea is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children. A young child has a more rapid turnover of body fluids than an adult. In rehydrating a child, there is less margin for error than with an adult. The younger the child, the more careful the rehydration must be. Cases that demand particular attention to detail are those in which organ function (especially skin, heart, brain, or kidney) is critically compromised. Overhydration (aka water intoxication) may be as serious as severe dehydration in children; the rehydration should therefore be done under medical supervision.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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