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How to Tell if You're Hydrated Sufficiently

Updated on December 22, 2016

How does one look and feel dehydrated?

This discourse on dehydration and why some degree of adequate hydration is necessary for good health is important.

Of all the signs and symptoms that one sees in a medical clinic, especially in an emergency room, dehydration is one of the most common of all. Usually if patients reports to a medical clinic with a bad cold (virus), or flu, (a more serious virus), dehydration is, again, one of the chief signs that doctors will see, and one of the most important factors that have to be treated to get a patient back of the road to recovery.

In my practice of medicine I found that dehydration was most common and most critical to treat, for any measure of success, in very young children (especially babies) and in the elderly.

Babies arrive at the hospital with decrease in frequency in urination, dry mouth, dry skin, as signs of dehydration. Eyes that appear sunken in, and skin when you pinch it, it "tents," or stands up, are more serious signs of dehydration, in babies. No tears, or few tears, are also signs of dehydration.

In adults one sees a decrease in urination, as a common sign dehydration. There is a syndrome called "orthostatic hypotension" that one sees in cases of dehydration at times. In this instance, when a person is bending over, or has squatted down, for whatever reason, and suddenly moves from these positions to an upright or standing position, he or she, becomes momentarily, light-headed. In extreme cases of orthostatic hypotension, a person can pass-out, or black-out upon standing.

Since a decrease in urination is a universal and common sign of dehydration, we would do well to keep this fact in mind. Dry mouth or dry tongue is a common sign that can help us. Also, and elevated pulse rate is common, above the normal range, if one can remember to check for this.

If a person is tired, sleepy, complain of dizziness, and at worse, appears to be going into an unconscious state, these are serious signs.

As a matter of fact, if one sees delirium and unconsciousness, call 911, since this person should have been hospitalized by now, that is, this is very late in a severe stage of dehydration.

Medical conditions such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and gastrointestinal bleeding are common causes of dehydration.

In clinical dehydration one will often see fever, a decreased blood pressure, and increased pulse rate and rapid breathing, just to review some of what I have said above.

Let's not forget that, even thought dehydration is a common condition, it can be a very serious condition, or should I say, it can be a sign of something very serious.

Many times, drinking fluids, water, pedi-lyte, or in more severe cases, giving adequate fluids via IV lines (intravenous methods), relieves the problem, that is, it corrects the dehydration by re-hydrating the body.

I am afraid that, if I try to go deeper into this problem of dehydration I will take most readers beyond the scope of this discourse. Medical professions such as nurses, doctors, etc, deal with dehydration on a daily basis and do not find anything remarkable about what I have written here. This is what they do for a living, that is, they diagnose and treat all manner of medical conditions that come to then, via the medical clinic, or the emergency room, or where ever. They see a lot of dehydration cases, as a matter of course, which is a good thing, because "no one comes to grief" because a medical profession mis-diagnose something as common, and usually simple to treat, as a case of dehydration.

Thank you for reading my work.


Dr. Haddox


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    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      5 years ago from Fontana, WI

      Excellent information. As a certified personal trainer we strive to instruct/train our clients. This is a hard subject to tackle and you brought in important symptoms to review. Great article which I hope more take advantage of to learn to improve their health. Voted up!

    • peachpurple profile image


      6 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thank you for your detailed hub about dehydration. I don't drink much fluids and have some problems that you mentioned. Will rectify this problem now. Useful hub


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