Dehydration (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?

The body's initial responses to dehydration are thirst to increase water intake, and decreased urine output to try to conserve water loss. The urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.

As the level of water loss increases, more symptoms can become apparent. The following are further signs and symptoms of dehydration.

The body tries to maintain cardiac output (the amount of blood that is pumped by the heart to the body); and if the amount of fluid in the intravascular space is decreased, the body compensates for this decrease by increasing the heart rate and making blood vessels constrict to try to maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the vital organs of the body. The body shunts blood flow away from the skin to internal organs, for example, the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and intestines; causing the skin to feel cool and clammy. This coping mechanism begins to fail as the level of dehydration increases.

With severe dehydration, confusion and weakness will occur as the brain and other body organs receive less blood flow. Finally, coma, organ failure, and death eventually will occur if the dehydration remains untreated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/3/2014

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