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Hypertonic Dehydration


Dehydration describes a state of negative fluid balance that may be caused by numerous disease entities. Diarrheal illnesses are the most common etiologies. Worldwide, dehydration secondary to diarrheal illness is the leading cause of infant and child mortality.

Hypertonic dehydration occurs when the lost fluid contains less sodium than the blood. Relatively less sodium than water is lost. Because the serum sodium is high, extra-vascular water shifts to the intravascular space, minimizing intravascular volume depletion for a given amount of total body water loss.



Symptoms of hypertonic dehydration include:

  • thirst, sometimes severe
  • very dry mouth
  • tiredness
  • restlessness
  • overactive reflexes
  • doughy skin texture
  • continuous muscle contractions
  • seizures
  • high body temperature



There are many causes of hypertonic dehydration but most commonly it happens due to diarrhea, vomiting and high fever. This can induce an imbalance in salt and water composition in body.

Newborns may also get the condition when they’re first learning how to nurse, or if they’re born early and are underweight. Additionally, infants can get intestinal disease from diarrhea and vomiting without being able to drink water.
Sometimes hypertonic dehydration is caused by diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus.



If signs and symptoms appear, your doctor may prescribe you to do additional confirmatory tests. They can confirm the condition by measuring serum sodium concentration. They might also look for:

  • an increase in blood urea nitrogen
  • a small increase in serum glucose
  • a lower level of serum calcium if the
  • serum potassium is low



While general dehydration can often be treated at home, hypertonic dehydration generally requires treatment by a doctor.
The most straightforward treatment for hypertonic dehydration is oral rehydration therapy. This fluid replacement contains a bit of sugar and salts. Even though too much salt causes hypertonic dehydration, salt is needed along with the water, or there’s a chance for swelling in the brain.

While in treatment, your doctor may monitor your weight, amount of urine, and serum electrolytes to make sure you’re receiving fluids at the right rate. Once your urination is back to normal, you may receive potassium in the rehydration solution to replace the urine you’ve lost or to maintain the fluid levels.


Treatment through sports drinks:

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates and in lower amount potassium, sodium and electrolytes. When dehydration occurs body is in severe need of fluid and electrolytes like potassium, magnesium and sodium etc. So, sports drinks can be a quick option to regain the hydration status of body.

As compared to water, sports drinks are absorbed quickly in the body so it brings back the rehydration state quite fastly.

Wanna know what is a sports drink?

Choose the sports drinks that contains less amount of carbohydrates, because that allows absorption of water rather quickly as compared to sports drinks containing huge amount of carbohydrates. Their main aim is to replace the fluid and electrolytes that are need of your body in dehydration state rather than providing carbohydrates that can be taken from food too.

Hypotonic drinks are specifically made for this purpose. They quench the thirst as well as provide energy to the body. They create favorable osmotic gradient in the body that allows the water to move through gut and abdominal walls via osmosis.

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We are a group of professional sportsmen and health coaches.


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