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Dehydration in Adults Overview

Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in. With dehydration, more water is moving out of our cells and bodies than what we take in through drinking. We lose water every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale and in our excreted sweat, urine, and stool. Along with the water, small amounts of salts are also lost. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults:

The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
  • Confusion
  • Decreased urine output

Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a type of fluid replacement used to prevent or treat dehydration especially that due to diarrhea. It involves drinking water with modest amounts of sugar and salt added (an oral rehydration solution or ORS) while continuing to eat.

To prevent dehydration, make sure adults and kids get plenty of fluids, especially when they have been physically active or when they are sick. As a rule, it is best that children take in more fluids than they lose, especially when they are unwell.