The Dangers of Dehydration: Understanding the Causes and SymptomsSkip to content

Hydration Matters

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 9, 2023.

Dehydration is a serious health concern that can have significant impacts on the body. It occurs when the body lacks enough fluids to function properly, and can have serious consequences if left untreated.

Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being, as it helps to support a wide range of bodily functions, including digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation. Let’s go into further detail on the causes and symptoms of dehydration, as well as the potential health risks it can pose.

Causes of Dehydration

Understanding the causes of dehydration is an important step in preventing it and maintaining good hydration.

  • Not drinking enough fluids. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as forgetting to drink water or other fluids, or simply not being in the habit of regularly hydration. It's important to make an effort to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially in hot weather or during periods of increased physical activity.

  • Increased fluid loss. This can occur due to activities that cause excessive sweating, such as exercise or working in hot conditions. Diarrhea and vomiting can also cause significant fluid loss, as can certain medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. In these cases, it's important to replace lost fluids as soon as possible to prevent dehydration.

  • Certain medical conditions. For example, diabetes can cause increased thirst and urination, leading to a greater need for fluids. Similarly, kidney disease can impair the body's ability to properly regulate fluid balance, increasing the risk of dehydration. It's important when you have these conditions to be particularly vigilant about maintaining good hydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Untreated dehydration can lead to serious health risks. Read on to recognize the symptoms of dehydration and know how to take steps to prevent it:


One of the most obvious symptoms of dehydration is a feeling of thirst. If you feel thirsty, it is a sign that your body is already dehydrated and in need of fluids. It is important to drink fluids regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty, to prevent dehydration.

Dry mouth and throat

When your body is dehydrated, your mouth and throat may feel sticky or parched, and you may have difficulty swallowing. This is because your body lacks the necessary fluids to produce saliva, which helps keep your mouth and throat moist.


Dehydration can also cause fatigue and weakness. When your body is dehydrated, your blood volume decreases, making it harder for your heart to pump oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. This can lead to feelings of tiredness and a lack of energy.

Dark urine

When you are well hydrated, your urine should be light yellow or clear. If your urine is dark yellow or amber in color, it may be a sign that you are dehydrated and in need of fluids.


Dehydration can also cause headaches, especially if you are sensitive to changes in your body's fluid levels. Dehydration can cause your blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to a headache. If you are experiencing a headache and have not been drinking enough fluids, it may be a sign of dehydration.

Health Risks of Dehydration

When it comes to maintaining good health, hydration is crucial. The symptoms of dehydration are often subtle, but the health risks associated with it can be serious and even life-threatening. Here are just a few of the ways in which dehydration can impact your health:

Risk of kidney stones

Dehydration can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, which are hard deposits of minerals that can form in the kidneys. These stones can be extremely painful and may require surgical treatment to remove. By staying hydrated, you can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Dehydration is a common cause of heat stroke, which occurs when your body is unable to regulate its temperature effectively. This can lead to a dangerous increase in body temperature, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, and fainting. By staying hydrated, you can help prevent heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.

Risk of urinary tract infections

UTIs can be painful and may require treatment with antibiotics. Staying hydrated can help flush bacteria out of the urinary system and reduce your risk of developing a UTI.

Risk of constipation

Dehydration can lead to constipation, as the colon absorbs water from the stool to maintain hydration in the body. This can make bowel movements difficult and uncomfortable. By staying hydrated, you can help prevent constipation and maintain regular bowel movements.

Risk of falls in older adults

Dehydration can also cause dizziness and lightheadedness. This can lead to a greater risk of falling and suffering serious injuries. By staying hydrated, you can help prevent falls and maintain an overall health and safety.

How to Prevent Dehydration

You can maintain good hydration and protect your overall health by following these key ways to prevent dehydration:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day: It's important to drink plenty of fluids on a daily basis to maintain hydration. Water is the best choice, but other beverages like fruit juice, milk, and tea can also contribute to your fluid intake. It's a good idea to carry a water bottle with you and take sips throughout the day to ensure you're getting enough fluids.

  • Drink fluids that contain electrolytes during prolonged exercise or in hot weather: During prolonged exercise or in hot weather, it's important to replenish electrolytes in addition to fluids. Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, are lost through sweat and can help prevent dehydration. Sports drinks that contain electrolytes can help replenish these minerals and keep you hydrated.

  • Eat hydrating foods: In addition to drinking fluids, you can also get hydration from the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges are high in water content and can help keep you hydrated.

  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing in hot weather: In hot weather, it's important to wear loose, lightweight clothing to allow your skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate. Tight, constricting clothing can trap heat and sweat against your skin, which can increase your risk of dehydration.

  • Take breaks in the shade or air conditioning: If you're outside in hot weather, it's important to take breaks in the shade or air conditioning to cool down. This will help prevent your body temperature from rising too high and reduce your risk of dehydration.

By following these tips, you can effectively prevent dehydration and protect your overall health. Don't let dehydration catch you by surprise – make a conscious effort to stay hydrated and your body will thank you later on.

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About the Author

JM Guiang

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Inspired by fresh ideas and wise words, JM Guiang, Communications degree-holder, and Elder Guide writer, finds profound joy in writing quality content and insightful articles that redefine seniors' perspective on aging with grace and confidence.