The human body requires water for every function it performs. When you do not drink enough water, it leads to fluid deficiency and is known as dehydration. When dehydration occurs for long periods, it leads to chronic dehydration. A lot of people are prone to chronic dehydration in certain circumstances like prolonged physical activity and heat exposure. Chronic dehydration becomes an ongoing issue and it starts to force your body to function without adequate water. It requires prompt medical attention and when left untreated, it has been linked to other health conditions like kidney stones and high blood pressure.
Symptoms of chronic dehydration
If you are dehydrated, you will experience extreme thirst, dark colored urine, dizziness and muscle fatigue. However, chronic dehydration presents differently to different individuals. You may or may not experience some of the symptoms. You might not even notice that you are low on fluid. This usually happens when the body becomes less sensitive to the intake of water and tries to make do with less water, no matter how much you drink. Other symptoms include constipation, dry skin, frequent headaches, constant fatigue, and muscle weakness.
Causes of chronic dehydration
The causes behind chronic dehydration can vary. There are risk factors which include working outdoors, living in a warmer climate and having minimal access to water. It is also linked with heatstroke and living in a hotter climate. Even diarrhea could leave you dehydrated. Dehydration can also occur in children. It is important to be familiar with the warning signs of dehydration amongst toddlers. Pregnancy and breast-feeding can put you at high risk for dehydration.
Treatment of chronic dehydration
If you have chronic dehydration, simply drinking water is not enough to restore the electrolyte balance of the body. The doctor might prescribe you drinks with added electrolytes to help the body recover lost fluid. Instead of drinking a high volume of liquid, you need to take small quantities of the fluid more often on a regular basis. In case of an illness like high fever, a stomach infection, you might suffer from dehydration. You might also have to be hospitalized and take an IV to deliver fluids in your bloodstream until there is an improvement in dehydration. When you have the fly, Matt Heistan from Arizona IV Medics explains that IVs are the best way to get fluids to the body because they bypass the digestive system. When it comes to long term care, it will be geared towards preventing future dehydration.
It will also depend on what is causing dehydration in the first place. Addressing the digestive organ conditions should be a part of the chronic dehydration treatment. If the dehydration is related to your lifestyle, diet, or occupation, you need to work with the doctor in order to make changes which make dehydration less likely. Effective methods include tracking the daily water intake using a journal, decreasing alcohol consumption, maintaining low-stress level, cutting back on caffeine and diuretic medication therapy.
How long does it take to recover?
The period for recovery will depend on the underlying cause and can also depend on how long you have been dehydrated. If dehydration is severe that it requires hospitalization, it might need a day or two before you can be released from the hospital. After the emergency stage of dehydration is passed, the doctor will monitor your recovery. You need to follow the guidelines for at least a few weeks while the doctor monitors the urine volume, electrolytes, and temperature.
Complications of chronic dehydration
If you are chronically dehydrated, there is a possibility of developing other conditions like headache, nausea, muscle cramping and dizziness. It could continue or worsen the dehydration process. Ongoing dehydration has been linked to hypertension, dementia, decreased kidney function, intestinal failure, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.
It is important to understand that chronic dehydration is a very serious condition. It should not be ignored and it might need emergency medical assistance. Once the symptoms of dehydration subside, you need to take the right steps to ensure that it does not occur again. It may have been more acute than chronic and because of a reversible condition. However, if dehydration is severe or prolonged, it could be due to an underlying illness and might require treatment or monitoring for a long period of time. You need to take the necessary steps to avoid dehydration in the future and improve your health by addressing causes which led to this. Focus on your lifestyle habits and make necessary changes as and when you can.