Staying Alert to Dehydration

Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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Dehydration is a serious matter that can become life threatening. Chronic dehydration or severe dehydration can lead to lifelong medical conditions. It is important to seek treatment if you believe to be suffering from any effects of dehydration. 

Please use this guide as a resource for knowledge and understanding of dehydration causes, complications, treatment, and prevention.


Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in. When your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal function it is dehydrated.  We lose water routinely when we sweat, exhale, eliminate waste, exercise, etc.


Complications can arise from dehydration with varying severity and should be treated as quickly as possible. Complications left unmanaged or treated can lead to long term affects.  

  • Heat injury. If you don't drink enough fluids when you're exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
  • Urinary and kidney problems. Prolonged or repeated bouts of dehydration can cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure.
  • Seizures. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become confused, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes can lead to a loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock). This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body


Mild to moderate dehydration can typically be reversed with little to no complications and with recovery being rather quick. Severe dehydration can be extremely dangerous and should be treated immediately. When some people become dehydrated they cannot simply drink enough liquids to replace the lost water; at these times it is necessary to reintroduce water into the body through medical intervention.


It is important to assess your environment and individual needs in order to maintain proper fluid levels within the body. Be aware of excessive heat, strenuous activity, consumption of food or beverages that cause dehydration, illness, etc. Water is the most efficient form of hydration and drinking the proper amount everyday can be challenging. It is always important to realize if you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated, it is wise to drink water before feeling thirsty. While difficult it is possible to become over hydrated with water intoxication, so do not drink water in excess. 

Learn more about dehydration, your risks, and symptoms at:

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