Signs of dehydration

A recent sporting event—the NBA Finals—highlighted the importance of hydration when Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova spent the night at the Cleveland Clinic reestablishing his fluids.

Hydration is important for seniors and their caregivers too. “Thirsty? You’re already dehydrated” was the compelling headline from a Baylor College of Medicine article. As temperatures continue to climb as we segue from spring to summer, it’s important to recognize the signs of dehydration.

While the article was written for those who work outdoors, workout or play sports, the information is valuable to senior health and safety.

Watch for signs of dehydration that include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output or dark urine
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness

Dehydration stresses the body to work to retain fluids lost through sweat. It also affects the cardiovascular system, decreasing blood pressure and increasing pulse.

“The whole body is essentially trying to conserve water despite you sweating it out,” says Dr. Irvin Sulapas, a sports medicine physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor. He adds that the body can tolerate a one to two percent of water loss but more than that can cause problems.

If symptoms of dehydration are exhibited, take time to rest  indoors or in a shady outdoor area while rehydrating with water.

Alcohol, a diuretic, should be avoided. Carbonated sodas increase thirst and excessive coffee intake should be avoided.

If a person experiences a collapse or mental confusion, immediately call for emergency services to evaluate and treat the individual.

Topics: Clinical