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Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance

 
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:23 am    Post subject: Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalance Reply with quote

It is particularly important for those newly-diagnosed with MC to understand the basics of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, because of the possible serious consequences.

Dehydration occurs when too much water is lost from the body. It is common with vomiting and/or diarrhea, hot weather/sweating, and fever. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mucus membranes (lack of tears, "sticky" mouth), decreased urination, dark-colored urine, and dizziness - especially when standing up quickly. For an more complete list of symptoms, please refer to the asterisk at the bottom of this page.

Electrolyte imbalance is a disturbance of the balance of salts in your body/bloodstream. It usually results from vomiting and/or diarrhea and often occurs along with the dehydration.

Both can be life-threatening and if untreated, can lead to seizures, coma, and eventually death. Thus, it is CRUCIAL for all with MC to pay attention to hydration.

Treatment consists of replacing BOTH water and electrolytes. Water alone is not recommended. Here are some treatment suggestions for replacing both water and necessary salts:

!. Gatorade or other sports drinks. Keep in mind that the large amount of sugar in these drinks may make diarrhea worse in some.

2. Pedialyte, a commercial oral rehydration solution which also contains sugar, can be found in the grocery store near the baby formula.

3. Balanced Electrolyte Concentrate, which does not contain sugar, is sold by the Allergy Research Group, and can be ordered over the internet. Two capsful of concentrate are added to 8 oz. of water. (contributed by member starfire/Shirley).

3. You can make an inexpensive homemade rehydration drink. Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix together:

1 quart (950 ml) water
teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda
teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 g) sugar
If available, add teaspoon (1.25 g) salt substitute, such as "Lite Salt".
(source http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/str2254.asp?navbar=hw86827 ). ( contributed by member Carrie).

4. If you are in a situation without any of the above fluids available, you can drink water and simultaneously eat some foods containing electrolytes - plain salty potato chips can help to replace sodium and a banana can replace potassium. (contributed by member Sally).

5. If the diarrhea/vomiting continue or worsen, and you are having symptoms of dehydration despite your best efforts to keep up with water/electrolyte intake, GO IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM. You may need intravenous (IV) fluids to replace your losses. In some cases, it may be lifesaving.




* The following is an detailed list of symptoms of dehydration (contributed by member starfire/Shirley):

Symptoms of early or mild dehydration include:
flushed face
extreme thirst, more than normal or unable to drink
dry, warm skin
cannot pass urine or reduced amounts, dark, yellow
dizziness made worse when you are standing
weakness
cramping in the arms and legs
crying with few or no tears
sleepy or irritable
unwell
headaches
dry mouth, dry tongue; with thick saliva.

Symptoms of moderate to severe dehydration include:
low blood pressure
fainting
severe muscle contractions in the arms, legs, stomach, and back
convulsions
a bloated stomach
heart failure
sunken fontanelle - soft spot on a infants head
sunken dry eyes, with few or no tears
skin loses its firmness and looks wrinkled
lack of elasticity of the skin (when a bit of skin lifted up stays folded and takes a long time to go back to its normal position)
rapid and deep breathing - faster than normal
fast, weak pulse

In severe dehydration, these effects become more pronounced and the patient may develop evidence of hypovolaemic shock, including: diminished consciousness, lack of urine output, cool moist extremities, a rapid and feeble pulse (the radial pulse may be undetectable), low or undetectable blood pressure, and peripheral cyanosis. Death follows soon if rehydration is not started quickly.
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