The Who, What, and How’s of Chronic Dehydration

The Who, What, and How’s of Chronic Dehydration

Everyone needs water to survive, but sometimes it’s hard to get enough of it. You may start to feel fatigued, sore, headachy, or thirsty when this happens, or you may not notice it at all. Usually when you are dehydrated, it’s due to excessive heat, physical excursion, illness, or hangovers.

However, some people have chronic dehydration, a condition that causes dehydration to happen frequently and for longer periods. It’s when your body is passing more fluids than when you can take in.

Chronic dehydration, when significant, requires prompt medical attention. When left untreated, chronic dehydration has been linked to other health conditions like high blood pressure and kidney stones.

Causes of Chronic Dehydration

Chronic dehydration isn’t like Crohn’s Disease — it isn’t easily diagnosable and usually just occurs like normal dehydration, except more frequently. Some people are more prone than others.

Risk factors for developing chronic dehydration include:

  • Living in warmer climates

  • Working outdoors

  • Having only sporadic access to water

  • Conditions that cause frequent diarrhea or vomiting such as

Chronic dehydration and regular dehydration can happen to anyone at any age. If you have children, make sure they are drinking enough water, especially when they are ill.

Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can also put you at a higher risk for dehydration. Hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition caused by pregnancy, can make it especially difficult

to maintain proper hydration levels.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Dehydration

When you’re dehydrated, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Dark-colored urine

  • Dizziness

  • Extreme thirst

  • Muscle fatigue

Chronic dehydration presents a bit differently. You may experience some of the normal symptoms we listed above or you may not even notice that you’re dehydrated at all! If you don’t feel thirsty, watch out for any of the following:

  • Dry or flaky skin

  • Constipation

  • Constant fatigue

  • Ongoing muscle weakness

  • Frequent headaches

Signs of chronic dehydration that a doctor will look for include a concentrated blood volume, abnormal electrolyte levels, and reduced kidney function over time.

How is Chronic Dehydration Treated?

When you have chronic dehydration, drinking plain water is sometimes not enough to restore your body’s electrolyte balance. Drinks with added electrolytes may be prescribed to help your body recover lost fluid.

Chronic dehydration is tricky, though. You can’t solve it by chugging water or sports drinks; you have to pace yourself. Drink small quantities every 15 minutes or so.  In general, treatment depends on what’s causing your dehydration in the first place. Addressing underlying condition(s) may be part of your chronic dehydration treatment.

If your chronic dehydration is related to your lifestyle, occupation, or diet, you can work with your doctor to make changes that make dehydration less likely. Possible management options include:

  • Tracking your daily water intake

  • Decreasing alcohol consumption

  • Watching your stress levels

  • Cutting back on diuretic medication therapy

  • Cutting back on caffeine

 In severe cases of chronic dehydration, you may need to be hospitalized.

Your long-term care will be geared toward preventing future dehydration.

You can also have an IV directly into your bloodstream until dehydration improves.

Using IV Therapy to Treat Chronic Dehydration

Hospitals commonly use IVs to treat dehydration or to just make sure a patient is getting enough fluids in them. IV therapy isn’t exclusive for hospitals, though. You can call a mobile IV therapy will send a registered nurse right to your home. If you’re feeling dehydrated or suffer from chronic dehydration, this could be the pick-me-up you need. As always though, go to the hospital for severe cases.

Why take an IV instead of drinking? IV therapy surpasses your body’s digestive system and places fluids and electrolytes directly into your bloodstream. An IV is also more efficient — you will absorb up to 90% of the fluids and nutrients, whereas your digestive system may just flush it out of your body quickly.

You also feel IV therapy faster than if you were to drink water, because it bypasses your digestive system! If you’re feeling dehydrated or in need of a pick-me-up, then IV therapy may be the better option for you. If you’re interested, give us a call at 602-755-9525 or book an appointment online today.

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