3 Dehydration Symptoms that Require a Doctor's Treatment

May 7th 2016

Severe dehydration is treatable when caught in time, but the condition can lead to permanent brain damage, seizures and death if symptoms are ignored. Preventative measures such as consuming balanced fluids on a daily basis and increasing water intake when ill can also help to lower the risk of severe dehydration. Knowing what signs to look for and seeking medical assistance if symptoms of mild dehydration worsen over time can help to minimize the chance of severe complications, allowing for a successful recovery.

Extreme Thirst

While thirst is a common symptom of mild dehydration, extreme thirst that is not remedied by increased fluid intake can indicate a medical emergency. Symptoms of extreme thirst may also be accompanied by severe mouth dryness and a lack of body sweat.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are another common symptom of severe dehydration. When the body loses fluid at a rapid pace, this can lead to a loss of potassium. Low levels of potassium in the body can cause abnormal heart rhythms, palpitations and the sensation of the heart "skipping a beat." It is extremely important for individuals to seek medical treatment if symptoms of dehydration are accompanied by abnormal heart beats of any kind, as severely low potassium levels can also cause the heart to stop beating entirely.

Loss of Skin Elasticity

When the skin is properly hydrated, it typically springs back into place within seconds after being pressed upon. When the skin of a severely dehydrated individual is pressed or pinched, it tends to sag and take a longer time to regain its natural shape. The fingertips may also remain white after being pressed upon, instead of returning to their natural pink color. Individuals with severe dehydration may also experience symptoms of shriveled, dry skin.

Severe Dehydration Treatments

Severe dehydration is typically treated with IV fluids and increased water intake. In certain cases, sufferers may be advised to suck on ice chips or treated with suppositories if they cannot keep fluids down.


Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the body loses fluids at an accelerated pace. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors that include illnesses such as food poisoning or the stomach flu, exercising in hot weather, certain medications, limited access to safe drinking water, and skin infections or injuries that cause fluid to seep from the skin.

In many cases, mild dehydration can be remedied by increasing water intake or drinking electrolyte beverages; however, severe dehydration must be assessed and treated by a medical professional. Understanding the common symptoms of severe dehydration can help to ensure that sufferers recognize potential danger signs and seek immediate medical attention.

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