Drink up This Summer: A Quick Guide to the Stages of Dehydration

stages of dehydration

You are probably dehydrated right now. You aren’t alone; 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration. The trick to not being dehydrated is to drink plenty of water. 

The problem is, how do you know what is enough water? We’ve all heard the rule of 8 glasses a day. But the thing to do is to pay attention to your body. 

When you know the stages of dehydration, you can look out for the signs and drink more water to combat them. 

Mild Dehydration 

This is the first stage of dehydration. At this point, you’ve lost 3-5% of your body weight. 

This level of dehydration can happen from a normal amount of sweating on a hot day. It could also happen from excessive urination. 

The Signs 

The signs that you are at this stage are dry mouth or feeling thirsty. Your nose or lips might feel dry. Check your urine; it’s probably an amber or dark yellow color.

The Treatment 

It’s time to start drinking some water. You don’t need to take any extreme measures at this point. 

Moderate Dehydration 

At the second stage of dehydration, you will have lost 6-9% of your body weight.  When you hit this stage, you’ll experience an imbalance of sodium and potassium levels. 

When these levels become off, it can change the rhythm of your heartbeat. This is because your heart will need to work harder to pump blood and oxygen through your body. 

The Signs 

At this stage of dehydration, you will have dried out nose and mouth. You’ll feel extreme thirst. You will experience headaches, dry skin, decrease urination, dizziness, or even light-headed. 

At the dehydration gets worse, your muscles will cramp. Your heart will beat fast but weakly, and your body temperature will drop. 

The Treatment 

Regular water at this point may not be enough. Drink some water that has electrolyte supplements. Do not stop hydrating until your urine is clear or very light colored. 

Severe Dehydration

At the third and final stage of dehydration, you will have lost 10% or more of your body weight. At this stage, you risk damaging your kidneys and liver. 

The Signs 

You will not be able to produce tears or keep fluids down. You could have severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, bloody or black stool, sunken eyes, and a weak pulse. 

The Treatment 

If you are at this stage of dehydration drinking water isn’t enough. You will need to seek medical attention at an emergency care center or hospital. They will give you IV fluid hydration

Pay Attention to the Stages of Dehydration

It is important to pay attention to the signs. That way, you can prevent yourself from moving through the stages of dehydration.

The best thing to do is to start drinking water when you first start feeling thirsty. That way, you never have to worry about getting to the second or third stage of dehydration. 

If you need medical assistance, contact us today or walk into one of our locations.