In 1994, thousands of starving people died in the Africa nation of Rwanda. It wasn’t lack of food that killed most of these people, but cholera, a bacterial infected that cripples the ability of intestinal mucosal cells to reabsorb water. The severe diarrhea that develops can kill in days, sometimes even hours. Dehydration is deadly. Dehydration is a deficiency condition that occurs when output of water exceeds intake. It is a great problem for athletes, military personnel, and certain industrial workers. This condition may develop following excessive sweating or as a result of prolonged water deprivation accompanied by continued water output. In either case, as water lost, the extracellular fluid becomes increasing more concentrated and water tends to leave cell by osmosis. Dehydration may also accompany illness in which prolonged vomiting or diarrhea depletes body fluids. During dehydration, the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth feel dry, and body weight drops. Severe dehydration may develop as the temperature regulating mechanism falters due to lack of water for sweat. In severe dehydration, as waste products accumulate in the extracellular fluids, symptoms of cerebral disturbances, including mental confusion, delirium and comma, may develop. Because the kidneys of infants are less able to conserve water than are those of adults, infant are more likely to become dehydrated. Elderly people are also especially susceptible to developing water imbalances because the sensitivity of their thirst mechanisms decreases with age and physical disabilities may make if difficult for them to obtain adequate fluids. The treatment for dehydration is to replace the lost of water and electrolytes. If only water is replaced, the extracellular fluids will become more dilute than normal. This may produce a condition called water intoxication. [p.814 Shier, David. Butler, Jackie and Lewis, Ricky. Human Anatomy and Physiology. New York, NY 10020:McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2004] Water Intoxication
Babies rushed to emergency rooms because they are having seizures sometimes are suffering from drinking too much water, a rare condition called water intoxication. This can occur when a baby under six months of age is given several bottles of water a day or very dilute infant formula. The hungry infant gobbles down the water, and soon its tissues swell with the excess fluid. When the serum sodium level drops, the eyes begin to flutter, and a seizure occurs. As extracellular fluid becomes hypotonic, water enters the cells rapidly by osmosis. Comma resulting from swelling brain tissues may follow unless water intake is restricted and hypertonic salt solutions are given to draw water back into the extracellular fluids. Usually, recovery is complete within few days. Drinking too much water occurs in other ways. A medical journal case report describes a woman who drank two extra quarts of water a day while on a very low calorie diet, under the advice of a diet counselor. When the dieter was hospitalized after suffering severe lethargy, nausea and weakness, test revealed the extremely low levels of sodium in her body fluids and she was diagnosed with “crash diet potanua”. A similar situation is seen among people who consume too much beer.
Transition or Dehydration Fever
In the new born is noted on the second to third day of life in otherwise normal newborns. It is more common among breastfeed neonates. Nursery environmental temperature, incubator, temperature or exposure to sun may also cause an increase in body temperature. These babies whose temperature goes up to 38-39 degree Celsius may become restless and show a precipitous drop in weight and a decrease in urine output. The dehydration may cause hemoconcentration of serum protein, electrolytes and hematocrit severe electrolyte imbalance can cause convulsions and even comma. The baby may respond with tachypnea and tachycardia. Correcting...
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