Dehydration Impacts Heart Rate and Performance:
The human body is equipped with several systems that regulate its functions. These include the central nervous system (CNS), which controls most bodily processes; the endocrine system, which regulates basic metabolic activities such as digestion, reproduction, immune function and much more; and the respiratory system, which ensures proper oxygenation of all tissues. All these three systems work together to maintain normal functioning of our bodies. However, when one or more of them fails, the result may be detrimental to life.
When any of these three systems fail due to either physical injury or illness, it can lead to various symptoms including weakness, fatigue and even death. When they are compromised beyond repair, they will eventually stop working altogether and the person will die from lack of vital organs.
In the case of a heart attack, the CNS is affected first because it is responsible for controlling many bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat and circulation. If the CNS becomes damaged or impaired, then it will no longer be able to perform its duties properly. A person suffering from a heart attack may experience difficulty in breathing, have trouble moving their limbs and even collapse unconscious before dying.
Dehydration is a common and life-threatening medical condition in which the body loses more fluid than it takes in. In most cases, dehydration occurs as a result of excessive fluid loss. Severe dehydration can lead to heart failure and sometimes even death.
Conversely, there are also times when the body cannot retain enough fluid to meet its daily needs. In such cases, the person will develop signs and symptoms of water retention or edema. This condition is more common among older adults and people with damaged kidneys.
Heart attacks are also known to produce the same signs and symptoms as the ones mentioned above. In fact, heart attacks can lead to severe dehydration that can eventually cause the person to die from lack of oxygen or simply collapse and stop breathing altogether.
What are the causes of dehydration?
As mentioned earlier, dehydration can be caused by excessive fluid loss. This loss can be due to many reasons such as:
Vomiting: When you throw up, your body loses a significant amount of fluid and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride. Throwing up is often caused by ingestion of poisonous substances such as chemicals, toxins or even certain foods.
Diarrhea: This is another common cause of dehydration. Whether the diarrhea is caused by bacterial or viral infection, the intestines lose fluid and important electrolytes such as magnesium and potassium.
Inadequate intake of water: When you don’t consume enough water to meet your daily needs, your body will no longer be able to support its various functions. This can severely affect all body systems including the nervous system, the respiratory system and of course the circulatory system.
Vomiting and diarrhea usually go hand in hand. This is because the infection that causes one often affects the gastrointestinal tract causing diarrhea and vomiting. The repeated loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to a decline in blood pressure or hypotension.
When this is untreated or the condition becomes severe, it can lead to shock and eventually death. The elderly are particularly prone to this condition as their bodies cannot cope with the loss of fluids as efficiently as they used to.
What are the signs and symptoms of dehydration?
When a typical person begins to feel thirsty, it is often a sign that the body has already started to become dehydrated. In some cases, the thirst is sudden and more intense than usual. The person may start to feel dizzy and experience dry mouth. The urine may also be darker than normal.
Other symptoms and signs of dehydration include dry and pale skin, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, headaches, fatigue, irritability and decreased blood pressure.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, it is important that you seek medical attention right away. If not treated early enough, the condition can become life-threatening.
How is dehydration treated?
Sources & references used in this article:
Impact of mild dehydration on wellness and on exercise performance by RJ Maughan – European journal of clinical nutrition, 2003 – nature.com
Hydration and physical performance by B Murray – Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2007 – Taylor & Francis
Dehydration: physiology, assessment, and performance effects by SN Cheuvront, RW Kenefick – Comprehensive Physiology, 2011 – Wiley Online Library