Overview of Dehydration / Hypovolemia
Dehydration is characterized by excessive loss of water from the body. Hypovolemia is described as a condition in which blood volume is decreased (volume of plasma is decreased). Hypovolemia is characterized by decrease in sodium in the body. Hypovolemia is also termed as volume contraction. Excessive bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea and reduced intake of fluid lead to dehydration and hypovolemia. Dehydration can be life threatening especially in infants and elderly. Dehydration and hypovolemia can be completely resolved through immediate and proper medical attention.
Causes and Risk Factors of Dehydration / Hypovolemia
The most common cause of dehydration is acute onset of diarrhea and vomiting. Several viral and bacterial infections lead to diarrhea and vomiting that can cause excessive loss of minerals and fluid from the body. Excessive sweating or exposure to heat stroke can also lead to alarming levels of dehydration and hypovolemia. High fever lead to loss of water from the body and if proper intake of fluid is not carried out during fever it can lead to severe dehydration. Increased urination due to uncontrolled diabetes also lead to dehydration. Use of certain medications such as blood pressure drugs or diuretics can result in dehydration. Infants, children and elderly are categorized as the risk groups of dehydration as they can develop acute and life threatening dehydration over a short time period. Hypovolemic shock can occur as a complication of dehydration and lead to drop in blood pressure and oxygen supply in the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration / Hypovolemia
The common symptoms of dehydration in children include sunken cheeks and eyes. Irritability, no tears on crying, no wet diaper for 3-6 hours, dry mouth, sunken spot on top of skull and drowsiness. In adults the symptoms of dehydration include excessive thirst, fatigue, decreased urination, dark colored urine, dizziness and mental confusion. Untreated dehydration can lead to kidney and urinary tract damage. Loss of electrolyte can cause tiredness and unconsciousness.