Mild illnesses and even overexposure to the sun can be more harmful then you think.
Dehydration can be defined as the excessive loss of water from the body. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to dehydration in various ways. Often, dehydration becomes the major problem in an otherwise mild illness. Fluid loss may even be severe enough to become life-threatening.
Our bodies require a certain amount of fluid intake on a daily basis to function; the minimum is roughly one litre, although requirements vary with activity and age, but most active persons need two to three times this basic amount.
Basic fluid intake serves to replace the fluids which are required to perform our normal bodily functions. If we take in less or lose more fluid than is needed, the end result is dehydration. A reliable clue to indicate dehydration is a rapid drop in weight. This loss may equal several pounds in a few days or in severe cases, hours. A rapid drop of over 10% (fifteen pounds in a person weighing 150 pounds) is considered severe.
Symptoms may be difficult to distinguish from those of the original illness, but in general, the following signs are suggestive of dehydration: increasing thirst, dry mouth, weakness or light-headedness (particularly if worsening on standing), darkening of the urine or a decrease in urination.
Severe dehydration can lead to changes in the bodys chemistry, kidney failure, and can even become life-threatening.
You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by increasing your intake of fluids, but severe cases need immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is not to become dehydrated in the first place. You can do that by monitoring your fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise and drinking enough liquids to replace what you lose.
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