Take Our Health Quizz
Test yourself on general health information about dehydration.

We are more than 70% water.  We begin to get dehyddrated and our performance drops off with as much as a 2% water loss.  What can cause a 2% water loss?  It doesn't take much.  It can happen to an athlete who's competing, to someone who's in bed with the flu or diarrhea, or to those who are active in the very hot weather of our desert environment, or to someone who just doesn't drink enough water.

Take our test on general health information about dehydration.  

1. What is dehydration?
A. A condition that happens when a person drinks too many caffinated beverages.
B. A person is dehydrated when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in.
C. A person is dehydrated when the body has insufficient amounts of fat and and protien.

2  What causes dehydration?
A. Diarrhea
B. Vomiting
C. Sweat
D. Inadequat intake of water
E. All of the above

3. Symptoms of dehydration may include:
A. Dry mouth, muscle cramps and light headedness
B. Dry eyes and blurred vision
C. Dry mouth and bad breath
D. Dry and splitting fingernails
E. All of the above

4. How is dehydration treated?
A. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
B. Increased consumption of liquids
C. Increased consumption of salty foods to retain liquid

5. Can I treat dehydration at home?
          A. Yes
B. No

6. How can I prevent dehydration?
          A. Eat more fruits and vegetables
          B. Drink adequate amounts of fluids
C. Reduce the consumption of caffinated beverages
How Did You Do?

1. What is dehydration?  (B)
Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in.
We routinely lose water when we breathe, sweat and urinate.  In a normal day, a person has to drink a significant amount of water to replace this routine loss.  The body is able to monitor the amount of fluid it needs to function.  The thirst mechanism signals the body to drink water when the body is dry. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated.  Severe dehydration can even lead to death. 

2. What causes dehydration? (E)
All of the above. 
Dehydration occurs when too much body fluid is lost or not enough fluid is taken in.  There are many conditions that may cause rapid and continued fluid losses and lead to dehydration. 
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea, vomiting and increased urination due to infection are the most common reasons for excessive water loss.  Worldwide, more than four million children die each year because of dehydration from diarrhea.

  • Sweat: Fever, heat exposure, and too much exercise can cause significant loss of body fluids as the body tries to cool itself.

  • Diabetes: In people with diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels cause sugar to spill into the urine, water then follows which can cause significant dehydration.  For this reason, frequent urination and excessive thirst are among the symptoms of diabetes.

  • Inability to drink fluids: The inability to drink adequately is the other potential cause of dehydration.  Whether it is the lack of available clean water or the lack of strength to drink adequate amounts, this, coupled with routine or extraordinary water losses can compound the degree of dehydration.

3. Symptoms of dehydration may include: (A)
Dry mouth, muscle cramps and light headedness
The body's initial responses to dehydration are thirst and decreased urine output to try and conserve water.  Urine will become concentrated and more yellow in color.  As fluid loss increases, more symptoms, from mild to severe, may become apparent, including:
  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Sweating stops
  • Muscle cramps
  • Light headedness and dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations (feeling like the heart jumps or pounds)
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness, even fainting
     Seek medical attention when fever is higher than 103 degrees, there is confusion, lethargy, headache, seizure, difficulty breathing, chest or abcominal pains, fainting, or no urination in the last 12-hours.
4. How is dehydration treated? (B)
Increased consumption of fluids.
Fluid replacement is the treatment for dehydration.  This may be attempted by replacing fluid by mouth, but if this fails, intravenous fluid (IV) may be required.  Should oral rehydration be attempted, frequent small amounts of clear fluids should be used.
5. Can dehydration be treated at home? (A)
Dehydration occurs over time.  If it can be recognized in its earliest stages and its cause can be addressed, then home treatment may be adequate.  Success of the rehydration therapy can be monitored by urine output.  When the body is dry, the kidneys try to hold on to as much fluid as possible and urine output is decreased and concentrated.  As treatment occurs, the kidneys increase urine ouput.  Prevention of dehydration may include:
  • Altering diet and use of medication to control vomiting and diarrhea to minimize water loss;
  • Use of medications to control fever;
  • Fluid replacement by mouth with frequent small amounts of clear fluids such as water, clear broths, popsicles, Jell-O and fluids containing electrolytes (Gatorade, Pedialyte, Powerade, etc.)
6. How can I prevent dehydration?  (B)
Drink adequate amounts of fluids.
Be aware of your environment.  Dehydration due to the weather is a preventable condition.  If possible, do not schedule activities in the heat of the day.  If active in the heat, increase fluid intake to compensate for fluids lost through sweat.  Exercising in a hot environment requires increased fluid intake.  Additionally, the young and the elderly are most at risk for dehydration and should be monitored for signs of dehydration for early intervention. 
The body needs water to function.  Dehydration occurs when water intake is less than water loss.  Symptoms range from mild to life-threatening.  Prevention is the important first step in treating dehydration. 
Hi-Desert Medical Center has been designated as a voluntary cooling station for the Morongo Basin. 
To learn more about the cooling station at HDMC