Chronic dehydration: Tired working man

If you’ve ever been dehydrated, you know the warning signs: a pounding headache, muscle cramps, feelings of excessive thirst, and dizziness. These symptoms are particularly common if you work in high temperatures or are sick with vomiting and diarrhea. DripDrop ORS can prevent dehydration and treat short-term dehydration that’s mild and moderate dehydration by restoring body fluid and electrolyte levels.

Your body needs water and electrolytes to perform vital functions such as muscle movement, sending neurotransmitter signals to your organs, and regulating hydration levels. When you regularly starve your body of these essential nutrients, you can suffer from long-term side effects, including kidney and heart disease, and may require medical attention.

Here, we’ll dive into the common causes of chronic dehydration and show you how to identify the warning signs. Plus, you’ll discover the best ways — including using an ORS like DripDrop ORS — to avoid dehydration. 

What Is Chronic Dehydration?

Chronic dehydration: Infusion therapy

Dehydration occurs when you don’t get enough water, electrolytes, and correct electrolyte ratios. It can be a short-term or long-term (chronic) condition — we’ll explain the difference below. 

Your body needs both fluids and electrolytes to function properly. Water provides cushioning for cells and contains vital minerals known as electrolytes, which include sodium, magnesium, and potassium. When you have an imbalance in water or any electrolytes, you can suffer from various forms of dehydration, including hyponatremia.

In contrast with short-term dehydration — in which symptoms resolve relatively quickly once hydration measures are taken — chronic dehydration symptoms can persist regardless of how much fluid and electrolytes you consume. Chronic dehydration can also occur when you regularly don’t get the proper amount of water and electrolytes your body needs.

Over time, chronic dehydration can result in damage to a variety of organs and cells. The most common complications include decreased kidney and liver function, increased prevalence of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, intestinal failure, and dementia.

Signs of Chronic Dehydration

Chronic dehydration: Teenage girl suffering from migraine

While the signs of dehydration in short-term cases include headaches and excessive thirst, chronic dehydration has its own hallmarks. Short-term dehydration symptoms may persist for days or weeks for people with chronic dehydration, or you may experience new symptoms that are specific to chronic dehydration.

Here are the most common symptoms of dehydration in chronic cases:

  • Regularly dry mouth
  • Dry skin, dry scalp, or flaky skin
  • Constant fatigue
  • Impaired mood, confusion, or difficulty concentrating 
  • Chronic low blood pressure
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Poor kidney function
  • Digestive problems, including constipation and difficult urination
  • Frequent muscle weakness or tiredness
  • Concentrated blood volume or abnormal electrolyte imbalances 

Common Causes of Chronic Dehydration

Chronic dehydration: Worker with hard hat and face mask

There are several factors that can contribute to chronic dehydration. Having a medical condition or regularly taking certain medications may predispose you to chronic dehydration. Your work environment and climate can also increase the risk of chronic cases of dehydration. Here is a breakdown of the main causes of chronic dehydration.

Medications

Many medications — including antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretics — feature dehydration as a side effect. Diuretics increase the frequency of urination, meaning you may lose fluids and electrolytes more quickly than normal. Antihistamines also dry out your mucous membranes, which can lead to dehydration.

Other medications may cause vomiting or diarrhea as a side effect, resulting in a rapid loss of water and electrolytes. If you take these medications on a long-term basis, your risk for chronic dehydration increases.

Environment and Work Conditions

The environment you work and live in can also increase the likelihood of developing chronic dehydration. That’s because dehydration is commonly caused by excessive sweating and heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. High-heat climates are correlated with an increased incidence of heat-related illness that can lead to dehydration. These risks increase if you work out or spend a lot of time outdoors.

When you’re hot, your body produces sweat in an effort to control its core body temperature. This sweat consists of water and electrolytes that are pushed to the surface of your skin to evaporate and create a cooling effect. If you don’t adequately replenish these lost fluids and electrolytes, you can suffer from dehydration. When this happens day after day, you can suffer from a chronic case of dehydration.

The same applies to your working conditions. If your job requires you to conduct projects outdoors in hot weather, chronic dehydration is a persistent threat. Roofers, contractors, firefighters, oil rig workers, athletes, and people who conduct intense physical activity are all at increased risk of developing chronic dehydration

In fact, studies show that athletes can lose 6% to 10% of their body weight through sweat alone, highlighting the dehydration risk for people who exert themselves on a regular basis.

Just because you work indoors doesn't mean you’re off the hook. People who work indoors in high temperatures (ex., in restaurants and factories) can also get chronic dehydration more easily.

Digestive Tract Disorders

Poor digestion and digestive tract ailments that cause diarrhea may lead to chronic dehydration. Along with sweating, vomiting and diarrhea are among the leading causes of dehydration. Things like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and gluten disorders can cause persistent diarrhea and gastric problems that lead to chronic dehydration.

Additional Risk Factors

Young children, older adults, and pregnant women are all at higher risk of developing chronic dehydration. During pregnancy, it can be hard to get the right amount of fluids and maintain healthy electrolyte levels, especially if you suffer from morning sickness.

Older adults are more likely to suffer from medical conditions or take medications that can feature dehydration as a side effect. Young children are also more likely to suffer from chronic dehydration, since they may not be able to communicate discomfort or share symptoms before the condition progresses to a chronic stage.

Diagnosing Chronic Dehydration

Lab technician analyzing a blood sample in test tube

A doctor will typically diagnose chronic dehydration with lab and blood tests, showing your electrolyte and blood fluid volume levels. Also, a chemistry panel test may help identify levels of various electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. These levels reflect kidney health and may highlight any issues in proper electrolyte balance. The doctor may also conduct a urinalysis to test your level of urine production.

The physician may conduct a skin turgor test, which measures your skin elasticity. During the test, the doctor will gently pinch your skin. When you’re dehydrated, your skin will take longer to return to its normal shape.

How To Manage Chronic Dehydration 

DripDrop tumbler on a pocket

Severe dehydration — whether chronic or short-term — should be addressed by a qualified medical professional. You may require hospitalization and the use of intravenous fluids before you can manage the condition at home.

Mild to moderate cases of chronic dehydration can usually be treated by making lifestyle changes such as improving hydration. But drinking water and getting enough fluids is only part of the equation.

The best way to manage dehydration is to use an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It contains a precise amount of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, that your body needs to perform optimally. DripDrop ORS is a proven alternative for treating mild to moderate dehydration. It's powerful enough to use in extreme circumstances but safe enough for everyday use.

DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards because of its delicious taste. This gives you a medically viable ORS that also tastes great. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.

So why can’t you just increase your water intake or drink other hydrating alternatives like fruit juices and sports drinks? In terms of dehydration, you can’t just drink water. You also need vital electrolytes — something a glass of water lacks. And while fruit juices and sports drinks have some electrolytes, they don’t contain a precise ratio or medically relevant amount of each one, making these less effective choices than an oral rehydration solution such as DripDrop ORS.

In addition to incorporating an oral rehydration solution into your dehydration protocol, here are a few quick tips to improve hydration:

  • Increase fluid intake and choose the right beverages
  • Drink fluids an hour or two before bed 
  • Drink fluids throughout the day
  • Replace caffeine with an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS in the morning
  • Talk to your doctor about managing health conditions and fluid intake
  • Pack a water bottle and DripDrop ORS packets in your work bag or go-bag

DripDrop ORS Can Help Manage Dehydration

Man holding DripDrop tumbler while crossing a river

When you're in a state of dehydration, you can’t just increase your daily water intake. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio of DripDrop ORS, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.

For cases of mild dehydration or moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. With convenient packaging that allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast.