The Importance of Water & the Dangers of Dehydration
Did you know that around 60% of the human body is composed of water?! Nearly every major system within our bodies relies on water. It regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells, dissolves minerals, lubricates joints, and helps the kidneys and liver as they flush out waste. In our bodies, water doesn’t just keep us hydrated . . . it keeps us alive!
This is why dehydration can wreak havoc on our bodies.
Causes of Dehydration
Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough water, leading to a disruption of normal bodily functions. It often occurs when someone does not drink enough water, like when they are in an area without an accessible water source, like a desert. It can also be the result of:
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- High fever
- Excessive sweating
- Increased urination
When the body rapidly loses water, it needs to be quickly replaced in order to maintain critical body functions. When someone is not able to replenish their body, they begin to experience dehydration. In adults, some of the most common symptoms of dehydration include:
- Intense thirst
- A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth
- Decreased urination
- Reduced sweat or tears
- Muscle cramps
- Dry and cool skin
As dehydration progresses, it can lead to more severe symptoms like a rapid heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, and fainting. Dehydration can quickly go from a simple thirst to a medical emergency, and extreme dehydration might require hospitalization. If it is not treated, dehydration can be fatal, as it may lead to organ failure.
When dehydration can happen to anyone, certain groups are especially susceptible. Elderly and ill patients in hospitals and nursing homes are a particularly vulnerable group. This is because they are especially vulnerable to medical malpractice or negligence.
Dehydration and Medical Malpractice
In a nursing home, hospital, or other facility that cares for ill, elderly, or vulnerable people, staff members have a duty to provide responsible and reasonable care to their patients. Naturally, this includes making sure patients are properly hydrated, as medical professionals know the importance of water to the body’s health.
However, issues can occur through negligence, recklessness, or even unintentional errors. For instance, if a nursing home is understaffed, a staff member might be too busy to check on a patient, leading to a delay in providing hydration. Dehydration is rarely the result of an intentional action, like purposefully denying water to a patient, but even when it occurs due to a mistake, the consequences can be just as deadly.
Whether dehydration occurs as a result of excessive exercise, an intense illness, or a facility’s mistreatment or mistakes, it can have serious consequences. To prevent a dangerous dehydration event, know the warnings signs, make sure loved ones are receiving proper care at hospitals and nursing homes, and of course, stay hydrated!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.