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Dehydration

more about Dehydration


  • This occurs when there is less fluid in the circulation and body tissues than is needed for proper bodily functions.  This can stem from the loss of body fluids due to sweating or excess urination.
  • The severity of dehydration is gauged by the percentage of body weight lost:
    1. Mild: 3-5% of body loss (infant); 5% of body weight loss (older children)
    2. Moderate: 6-9% of body weight loss (infant); 7% of body weight loss (older children)
    3. Severe: 10 or more % of body weight loss (infant); 10 or more % of body weight loss (older children)

  • Mild dehydration:
    1. Thirst
    2. Restlessness
  • Moderate: 
    1. Dry mouth
    2. Rapid breathing
    3. Skin tenting (skin loses its recoil)
    4. Lack of tear production
    5. Sunken eyes, anterior fontanel
    6. Low blood pressure
    7. Rapid pulse
    8. Decreased urine production
  • Severe:
    1. Rapid breathing
    2. Low blood pressure
    3. No urination
    4. Confusion
    5. Coma

  • Fluid deprivation
  • Inability to drink liquids
  • Prolonged heat exposure
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Diabetic hyperosmolar coma
  • Infections
  • Large burns (fluid loss through the skin)
  • Overuse of water pills (diuretics)
  • Diarrheal illnesses
  • Prolonged vomiting

  • A careful history
  • Body weight measurements
  • Orthostatic blood pressure measurements(to look for a lower blood pressure when standing, compared to sitting)
  • Elevated BUN out of proportion to an elevated creatinine
  • Central venous pressure measurements if diagnosis unclear

  • Oral crystalloid hydration fluids
  • Intravenous fluids (Initially, normal saline is usually the most effective)




more about Dehydration


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