Published July 22, 2023 by

Dehydration and Dizziness

Dehydration can cause dizziness, mental confusion and even coma.

Who never forgot to drink water throughout the day and, at a certain point, felt their lips dry and their body a little warm? Quite common signs that the body is dehydrating, that is, without receiving the ideal amount of water to maintain its activities normally. 

When the body feels a lack of water, it sends a signal to the brain, which causes the need to ingest liquids at the same time that causes the body to retain as much water as possible. In the context of dehydration, the individual may feel dizzy, have mental confusion and, in severe cases, go into a coma.

Doctor's word 

According to the gastroenterologist and coloproctologist of the Sao Camilo Hospital Network, Henrique Perobelli, the ideal is not to wait to feel thirsty to hydrate. “From the moment the body asks for water, this means that there is already a dehydration process underway, which can generate numerous health problems”, warns Perobelli. 

The specialist points out that dehydration overloads the kidneys, since the existing water in the body moves to the bloodstream to help maintain blood volume and blood pressure, causing the tissues to dry out and the functioning of the cells to be compromised.

“We consume about 500 ml of water in breathing and another 1500 ml in the digestive process. If we don't drink at least 2000 ml of water a day, we'll always live in the red”, explains the doctor. 

Serious cases 

Water accounts for about 60% of an adult's weight and is the most important element in our body, explains the doctor. “All the chemical reactions in the organism depend on it, in addition to being present in the blood, in the body’s secretions, in the digestive, respiratory and nervous systems, in the skin and even in our bones and joints.”

In case of severe dehydration, the internal organs suffer severe damage, especially the kidneys, liver and brain. "At this stage, people feel dizzy, mentally confused and may fall into a coma if they do not receive adequate treatment", explains the doctor. Still according to the doctor, when a person stops drinking water completely, between three and five days, dehydration will cause the body to stop working. 

In addition, the constant lack of water in the body, which experts call chronic dehydration, can contribute to the development of diabetes, digestive and intestinal problems and high cholesterol, among other conditions that impact health.

Dehydrated elderly 

Among those who suffer the most from the effects of dehydration are the elderly. Dr. Henrique says that Alzheimer's, stroke or rheumatological diseases, for example, make it more difficult for the elderly or forget to drink enough liquid to stay hydrated. 

"Even those who do not have any disease or any motor limitation may have some form of dehydration, as the elderly feel less thirsty than young people", highlights the coloproctologist.

He reinforces the importance of constant monitoring, offering fresh water and foods such as fruits and vegetables, which have plenty of water in their composition. 

Experts claim that there is no exact rule about the amount of water to be ingested per day. “In the past, people used to talk about 8 glasses a day, but the amount needed will depend on factors such as body size, daily habits, physical activity, the climate of the place where you live, among others. The literature recommends, under normal circumstances, around 1ml/kcal for adults or 35 ml/kg of body weight”.