Dehydration. Causes and symptoms

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People aged 60+ are at particular risk of dehydration. With age, the total amount of water in the body decreases by up to 15%. The average water content in the body of seniors is about 40-50%. For comparison, in newborns it is 80%, in children 70%, in adults 60-65%. Adequate fluid intake is very important for the elderly, also because they feel less thirsty. Drinking too little water is the first step to dehydration, which is more common in seniors and is particularly dangerous.
Dehydration in people aged 60+ may be caused by:
  • reduced thirst often leading to lower consumption of water, dairy products and drinks, fruit and vegetable juices,
  • irregular consumption of meals or skipping meals,
  • drinking too much sweetened beverages, coffee and black tea,
  • taking medications that may interfere with thermoregulation.

At first, dehydration is asymptomatic. But many symptoms may occur with increased water loss.
The warning signs include:
  • increased thirst,
  • headache and dizziness,
  • general weakness,
  • disturbance of consciousness,
  • vision problems,
  • cardiac arrhythmia,
  • dry mouth / nose,
  • dry skin,
  • muscle cramps.

When you notice the symptoms listed above, immediately reach for water. If the symptoms worsen, be sure to consult a doctor!