What Causes Dehydration In Elderly? Symptoms And How To Prevent It?

Dehydration occurs when there isn’t adequate water to replenish that what is lost. Your system tends to dry out. Insufficient water intake and excessive loss of water can result in severe dehydration and it is extremely vital that prompt steps ought to be taken to reinstate the lost water and bring to equilibrium the water and electrolyte balance.

Common causes of dehydration are vomiting, diarrhea, fever or excessive sweating. Not drinking sufficient water or excessive sweating during exercise may also result in dehydration. By and large, it is possible to reverse mild degree of dehydration by drinking lots of water and liquids; however, severe dehydration requires instant medical aid.

  • With age, you become more vulnerable to dehydration. The body’s capacity to preserve water is diminished, the sense of thirst becomes less acute and you’re less able to react to changes in the temperature. Furthermore, older adults, particularly those living alone or those in nursing homes, tend to eat lesser than younger people and from time to time forget to eat or drink altogether.
    Disability or abandonment may also prevent them from being well fed. These problems get aggravated by chronic ailments, such as diabetes, or due to changes in the hormone profile associated with menopause or because of use of certain drugs.
  • Severe diarrhea and extreme vomiting results in a huge loss of water and electrolytes in a short period of time.
  • Fever also triggers dehydration. The higher your fever, the more dehydrated you tend to get.
  • Excessive sweating also causes dehydration. Hot, humid weather increases sweating and the amount of fluids you lose.
  • Increased urination; usually due to undiagnosed or unrestrained diabetes mellitus, results in frequent urination. Diabetes insipidus, also typified by too much thirst and urination, is a hormone disorder in which the kidneys fail to preserve water.
  • Certain medicines, such as, anti histamines, diuretics, blood pressure drugs and psychiatric are known to cause dehydration, because they make you perspire or urinate more than normal.

Signs And Symptoms Of Dehydration

While there are certain common signs and symptoms of dehydration, their manifestation may vary depending upon the severity of the condition. Symptoms of mild dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Sleepiness, drowsiness, exhaustion.
  • Reduced urine output.
  • Dry skin.
  • Constipation.
  • Headache.
  • Giddiness.

Symptoms of severe dehydration are:

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Irritability and confusion.
  • No sweating.
  • Little or no urination.
  • Dry and shriveled skin.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Breathing becomes rapid.
  • Quick heartbeat.
  • Delirium.

How To Prevent Dehydration In The Elderly?

The best approach is preventing dehydration. Keep an eye on your fluid loss during hot weather, exercise, or illness; and drink lots of liquids to restore that what you have lost.

  • Oral re-hydration solution is very important. This contains water and salts in precise proportions to reload fluids as well as electrolytes. They also make digestion easy.
  • You may also make your own oral re-hydration solution by blending together ½ teaspoon salt, 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1 liter of water. Ensure that the measure is accurate, since wrong amounts make the solution less effectual or even harmful.
  • Avoid milk, caffeinated drinks, sodas or gelatin, which do not alleviate the dehydration and may even make the symptoms worse.
  • Make certain that at least 2 and a ½ liters of water are consumed on a daily basis.
  • Also, adequate food and nourishment is vital.

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