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Ask yourself: are you thirsty or are you dehydrated?

Petra Hapsari   05 September 2017 11:15

How many glasses of water have you taken today?

Two thirds of our body is made of water, so your body needs to get sufficient water to function optimally.

But how can you realize that your body is lacking of water? What is dehydration? What are the symptoms?

Dehydration is a condition where the amount of liquid your body loses is more than the one you get. The imbalance of the liquid in your body will affect other contents in your body, including salt and sugar, and it might lead into blood clotting.

Unfortunately, you feel thirsty only after you are dehydrated. Even the symptoms of dehydration that someone might have might be different, depending on the age.

The symptoms of dehydration in children

Children are more at risk of dehydration since their bodies are small, resulting in lesser liquid reserve than adults’. Dehydration in children can be caused by certain conditions such as fever (the liquid in the body evaporates more when the body’s temperature is high), diarrhea, throwing up or excessive sweating during playtime (the sun exposure might make it worse).

If your children have the condition as mentioned above, it is better for you to pay attention to symptoms which might follow, such as:

  • Dry tongue and mouth
  • Absence of tears when crying
  • Eyes and cheeks look sunken inward
  • The color of urine is dark, the volume and frequency of urinating decreased, or even not urinating for 6 to 8 hours or more.
  • Dry skin
  • Headache, the body feels unstable or staggering.
  • Sleepiness and tiredness
  • Increasing heart rate
  • For some children, dehydration might even cause them to lose consciousness

The symptoms of dehydration in adults

Certain conditions that can make adults dehydrated include fever, exposure to high temperature, doing too many activities, excessive sweating and throwing up.  Adults can also get dehydrated due to other conditions such as the increase of urinary expenditure due to certain infection and wounded skin (the body liquid can also be gone due to damaged skin).

If you are experiencing conditions as mentioned above, you are more likely to get dehydrated. Most dehydration symptoms on adults are similar to the ones children have. However, in certain conditions, an adult can also be considered as dehydrated when he/she is having these symptoms:

1. Bad breath. Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital’s cardiologist John Higgins revealed that dehydration causes your body to produce lesser saliva. The absence of sufficient saliva in your mouth might cause the bacteria inside your mouth to develop, followed by unpleasant aroma from your mouth.

2. Muscle cramp. As mentioned before, the lack of liquid in your body can affect other content in your body. It can also affect the electrolyte in your body before affecting the salt and potassium content, causing you to have muscle cramp.

3. The want of certain food, especially the sweet ones. When your body’s liquid is decreased, your heart will have problem in producing glycogen, the end result from the processing of sugar in the body. As a result, your body wants to get the replacement by consuming sweet food.

Go to doctor if...

There are a lot of literature saying we need to get minimum of 2 liters of water or around 8 glasses of water every day. However, there are a lot of factors determining how much water intake you need such as your health condition, your environment and your activities.

However, go to doctor if you or your children’s dehydration shows these symptoms:

  • Having fever for more than 38 Celsius degree.
  • The decrease or absence of consciousness.
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Pain on chest or stomach.

The article was previously published in and all medical data has been reviewed by a licensed medical doctor.


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