Dehydration in the elderly is a problem that can go unnoticed and yet pose a serious risk to the individual. A study revealed that 1 in 5 elderly people in nursing homes are dehydrated. Elderly people may fail to get the right amount of fluids in their bodies for different reasons. One of the most common reasons is that they do not feel thirsty and here’s more from doctors near Tweed Heads.
Causes of Dehydration in the Elderly
First of all, it is necessary to understand what dehydration is since not being able to understand the condition can be a cause as well. Dehydration is when the body cells and blood vessels do not have enough fluids. The fluids do not necessarily have to be water. This is what doctors near Tweed Heads suggest:
Frequent Urination: As people age, they may become unable to retain water and that leads to frequent urination. At the same time, their bodies no longer feel the urge to drink water so they do not feel thirsty. Elderly people, therefore, lose water to urination and it is never replaced.
Illness: Certain illnesses during old age can cause dehydration. Diabetes is a common cause of dehydration in the elderly. A sickness that causes diarrhea, vomiting or sweating can also lead to dehydration.
Restricted Movement: Some elderly people depend on their caregivers for almost everything so if they are not given fluids, they won’t drink.
Dementia: It is common for people with dementia to forget not just to take medication, but also to drink water. If there is no one around to remind them, they may not get enough fluids.
Medication: Elderly people with high blood pressure are prone to dehydration because of the diuretics they take. Many other medications like those for heart complications also lead to frequent urination.
Weather: Elderly people in hot areas may lose water when they sweat but their thirst signals do not kick in. Without signals alerting them that they are thirsty, they eventually get dehydrated.
Sore Throat: Sore throat or wounds in the mouth may discourage a person from eating and drinking. If this goes on for long, dehydration will result.
Why the Concern?
Generally, dehydration may be mild and that does not cause concern. In other cases, however, the cause for concern is health complications.
Severe dehydration can bring about heart complications. Little or no fluid in the blood vessels affects the normal working of the heart.
One of the symptoms of dehydration in the elderly is dizziness, this can result in injury. Some falls and other accidents among old people are a result of being light-headed. Falling can result in concussion, cuts, and bruises among other risks.
A lack of water in the body can increase the occurrence of constipation. If this continues for long, the problem can progress into kidney complications. It is common for kidney stones to be associated with prolonged dehydration.
For women, some cases of recurrent UTIs are associated with not taking enough water. It may not be the main cause of this, but it can contribute to it.
For elderly people with dementia, dehydration will result in severe effects of the illness. The patient can become even more forgetful and confused.
In general, dehydration can contribute to further deterioration for elderly people and in extreme cases, it can be the cause of death. This raises concerns about this problem.
To prevent the adverse effects of dehydration in the elderly, the condition must be detected early. Since elderly people may not feel thirsty, they may have symptoms of dehydration which may not be associated with the problem. You need to visit the best medical centre to get the aged checked if y