Human organismcan survive just a minute or two without the air, couple of days without anyfood and only four days without the water. When our body loses so much waterthat it is more than we drank this condition is called dehydration. If there isnot enough water in the system, our organs start to fail and the whole bodyeventually stops.
Water isneeded for the proper functioning of all organs and systems in the human body. Adequateamount of water is necessary to maintain normal blood pressure. Insufficientamount of water in the body will certainly affect the waste elimination fromthe body and cause constipation. Water is also responsible for the regulationof our bodily temperature through the sweating process, and if there is notenough of water our temperature could increase significantly.
Elderly peopleare more likely to suffer from dehydration, which can lead to seriouscomplications and illnesses. Usually, older patients suffer from multiplechronic diseases and take many different medications to treat these conditionsand these all present risk factors for dehydration. Elderly are also more proneto swallowing disorders, gastrointestinal bleeding and surgical procedures arealso common among them, all leading to potential dehydration. Other riskfactors for dehydration in older patients might include: fever, diarrhea, vomiting,use of alcohol and some acute diseases, such as urinary tract infections andpneumonia, often found in these patients.
With aging,our body sends fewer signals about the thirst and it becomes less able tomaintain adequate liquids and water balance in the body. Because of that, olderpeople often don’t feel thirst and don’t drink sufficient amounts of water andother fluids.
Elderly couldbe also forgetting to drink water, due to their age, effects of the drugs theyhave been taking or even because of the altered mental status. Sometimes,decreased mobility can also affect intake of water, and people suffering from Parkinson’sdisease or stroke might also experience dehydration.
First symptomsof dehydration might be dry mouth and tongue, decrease in the amount of urine,constipation, weight loss and sweating inability. Dehydrated people could alsoexperience headaches, dizziness, confusion and the drop of blood pressure whilestanding, but also walking problems and falls.
How to TreatDehydration
The treatmentinclude the replacement of needed fluids by mouth (orally), or in more seriouscases intravenously or stomach tube fluid replacement.
Be awarethat aging people need less water, and sometimes, especially if they are dying,their body will naturally need lees fluids. The same goes for terminally illpeople, for in most cases they also need and/or desire less water and food.
Elderly peoplein hospitals are carefully watched in order to prevent and treat early signs ofdehydration.