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Dehydration: Causes, Risk Factors, and Complications

Water is the most important thing our body needs to function properly, but most of us don’t drink enough of it! It can be hard to remember to drink enough water and it’s easy to go more than a few hours without having even a sip of it. However, it’s super important that we stay hydrated, especially in the warm summer months when it’s easier to get dehydrated. While there’s no single formula for how much water a person should drink every day because our needs are all different and can vary based on many different factors like how much exercise we’re getting, gender, age, and where a person lives, we suggest drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t get enough water to function properly. It’s basically when the body loses more fluids than it’s taking in. The Mayo Clinic warns that if the fluids are not replaced, then the body will become dehydrated. To get better informed on the topic and learn how to stay safe this summer, here is a look at what to know about dehydration, including the causes, risk factors, and potential complications. (Learn more about the signs with this article on The Top Signs of Dehydration).


1. Diarrhea and Vomiting

When we think of dehydration, we think naturally think of water. We assume that someone who is dehydrated is simply not drinking enough water. While that’s usually the cause, there are many other ways a person can become dehydrated. In the intro we mentioned that people can become dehydrated when they are losing more fluids than they are taking in, as unpleasant as it is, this includes vomiting and/or diarrhea.

It’s important to note that a person would have to have a serious case of vomiting or diarrhea in order to become dehydrated, but it’s important when you’re feeling ill to stay hydrated because illness that cause these symptoms will often lead to dehydration. “Severe, acute diarrhea — that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently — can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time,” writes the Mayo Clinic. “If you have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals.”

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