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Dehydration: As Serious as a Heart Attack

Dehydration: As Serious as a Heart Attack

I had a really scary experience yesterday I want to share to prevent someone else from learning the hard way.

Our family has a flu bug. I didn’t think it was too bad. My son was vomiting and had a headache one day and the next morning I awaoke feeling achy with a headache. By mid morning my son and I both made several bathroom trips.

I was in the bathroom– more than out –for about 2 hours. Grateful to be out of the bathroom, I went to my computer to work.


I felt very dizzy. Alarmingly dizzy. I was trying to think if I got up too fast or needed to eat when I became very alarmed at my thought process. I could not think straight. I started sweating a lot. My husband was in an upstairs bedroom working on another computer.

I could not call out to him, maybe I could but My thinking was too fussy to call out to him. This is what was so scary — I could not form a constructive thought!

Got a perspective, but lost my focusI went up stairs. Holding on to the railing the few stairs then crawling midway up VERY disoriented. When I got into the bedroom I mumbled something is very wrong and collapsed on the bed. I could not communicate how bad I was feeling.

I have a history of heart problem so my husband said, “Should I call 911?”  I don’t remember him asking but apparently I answered, “no.”  I was very shaky, my heart was racing, and I was sweating.

My heart started throwing some pretty violent PVCs my husband remarked he could see them in my neck. I began getting very nauseous.

DH placed a cool cloth on my head while I was trying to think what position I needed to get in to vomit with out running to bathroom because there no way I could get up. I was trying very hard how to organize my thought so I could as for the trashcan and I could not do it.

DH gave me a bottle of water , I didn’t ask for it but consumed the whole bottle in a few gulps. I remember thinking. “Oh I shouldn’t his whole bottle of water.” Then I began feeling a little better. The fog started lifting. DH wanted me come downstairs to take my blood pressure. We still did not realize I was dehydrated.

I was able to get downstairs still shaky. In my bedroom I collapsed on the bed. Then I was disoriented again. I knew where the blood pressure cuff was but I could not form a sentence to explain it to my DH. The sweating and nauseous returned.

Just Full Of IdeasThen the light bulb went on!  I remembered feeling similar in the hospital when I needed potassium. I blurted out “Give me a banana!” I ate 2 bananas and drank 2 glasses of orange juice and another bottle of water and I was fine.

Once I get the banana and juice  in me could think again I realized I was dehydrated and my electrolytes were shot.

How Did this Happen?

I have been a mother for 36 years and dealt with many, many sick children. I know the dangers of dehydration.My children are allowed unlimited juice Popsicles during any illness.

So how dd this sneak up on me?  Somehow,  I thought dehydration was something occurring over a few days, not in two hours. By the time I had symptoms I was too fuzzy the think and understand what was happening.

Once I thought about it, I was really, really busy the day before and didn’t drink hardly anything. I was already dehydrated when I work up with the bad headache. The bathroom trips drained me of (according to symptoms) about 10% of my water.

Dehydration caused by diarrhea is one of the biggest single killers of children in the modern world and diarrhoea itself is one of the major causes of nutritional loss and poor growth.

This year, about 2.2 million children will die of dehydration caused by diarrhoea –  80% of them in the first two years of their life.

Understanding Dehydration

You don’t have to be apoor soul stumbling across a sandy desert under the hot sun, unable to find some clean, clear water. Or an infant that can’t drink a baby bottle to experience scary dehydration.

Dehydration is anytime you  lack of enough water and electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts that the body uses in major cellular activity, especially within the muscles cells and blood cells.

Potassium and magnesium are critical for the heart.

Because we are 70% water dehydration can lead to very serious illnesses and even death (especially in children who can die within a few days) if not remedied in time.

  • Mild Dehydration: include thirst, decreased urine volume, abnormally dark urine, unexplained tiredness, irritability, lack of tears , headache, dry mouth, dizziness.
  • Moderate to Severe Dehydration: lethargy or extreme sleepiness, seizures, sunken fontanel (soft spot) in infants, fainting, and sunken eyes. One’s heart and respiration rates begin to increase to compensate for decreased plasma volume and blood pressure, while body temperature may rise because of decreased sweating.
  • 5% to 6% water loss: one may become groggy or sleepy, experience headaches or nausea, and may feel tingling in one’s limbs (paresthesia).
  • 10% to 15% fluid loss: muscles may become spastic, skin may shrivel and wrinkle (decreased skin turgor), vision may dim, urination will be greatly reduced and may become painful, and delirium may begin.
  • Greater than 15%  water loss are usually fatal.

Dehydration Treatment

The good news is you can lose as much as 10% of your body weight through dehydration and suffer no long term ill effects. Simply by drinking several quarts of water you will be restored in a very short time. I went from deathly ill to fine iin a few hours.

Drink a rehydration drink, water, juice, or sports drink to replace fluids and minerals. Drink 2qt of cool liquids over the next 2 to 4 hours. You should drink at least 10 glasses of liquid a day to replace lost fluids.

For treatment by age see WebMD Dehydration Home Treatment

How about you? Did you know you can get that sick that fast? Do you have a dehydration story to share? Share in the comments.


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