Dehydration and the BodyIntroduction Dehydration is a medical condition that is when the bodyutilizes more water than it takes in. Dehydration occurs after losing a smallpercentage, only 1% of one’s total body weight in fluid loss. This water can belost in the form of sweat, exhalation, and urine (Adan, 2012, p. 71).Dehydration affects the human body in several ways, with the focus of thispaper being the effects of dehydration on the brain, heart, and kidneys, respectively.TheBrain Dehydration can affect the brain in many ways. It cancause limited water in the brain not allowing it to function properly.
This cancause confusion and even headaches for the patient. Dehydration can alter brainactivity and neurotransmitters that are used for cognitive processes. Sincedehydration decreases the volume of blood in the body, there is less blood flowto the brain in certain areas. This can affect the blood-brain barrier permeability.Blood flow may be decreased in the primary somatosensory cortex, motor cortex,prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and the superior temporal gyrus(Adan, 2012, p. 71-72). Less blood being circulated to the brain can causedizziness (Popkin et al, 2010, p. 445).
Dehydration decreases the availabilityof glucose in the central nervous system which minimizes the ability to use thebrain at its full capacity. This can affect cognitive skills such as memory andpsychomotor (Adan, 2012, p. 71-72). Severe or chronic dehydration has shown tocause anxiety, panic attacks, or psychosis (Thomas et al, 2008, p. 296). Memory. Inmost instances, dehydration has caused a decrease in memory abilities. Whetherthe material be presented to the subject in a verbal or numerical way, theyoften lacked the ability to relay the informationback to the observer.
It has been shown that memory abilities decrease with anincrease in dehydration state (Adan, 2012, p. 73). Psychomotor. Psychomotorabilities can be decreased in the presence of dehydration. Instances thatrequire the subject to have hand-eye coordination become much harder as thebrain cannot process such tasks with ease. Efficiency and speed of themovements have been shown to deteriorate the more dehydrated the subject became(Adan, 2012, p. 73).TheHeart The volume ofblood a person has is dependent on water entering and exiting the body.
Dehydration can decrease blood volume causing the heart to work harder bypumping faster. When changing position from sitting or lying down to standingup the body must make the necessary adjustments to blood pressure and heartrate. When the volume of blood is too low the body cannot make these adjustments,which can cause dizziness, or in the worst case, fainting (Popkin et al, 2010,p. 445). Long term dehydration has been shown to cause coronary heart disease,which is a buildup of plaque in the arteries (Armstrong, 2012, p. S122). Blood pressure.
Dehydrationis a cause of low blood pressure, also called hypotension. This can causenausea or fainting. This is due to the decreased volume of blood which reducespressure on the larger veins and arteries (Gonzalez-Alonso, 1998, p.
S113-114). Heart rate. Asthe volume of blood decreases during a state of dehydration, the heart mustwork harder to accomplish less results. Because of this the heart rateincreases since there is less blood for the heart to pump. When a personrehydrates and increases their blood volume the heart rate will return to itsoriginal state (Gonzalez-Alonso, 1998, p. S113-114). TheKidneys Kidneys areresponsible for filtering blood and producing urine.
Dehydration causes bloodvolume to decrease and urination to act the same. During a state ofdehydration, vasopressin is used to encourage the kidneys to hold onto waterand as a result increase blood pressure. This causes the body to produce moreconcentrated urine as a hope to bring more water to the blood increasing thevolume of blood in the body (Bouby et al, 2003, p. S39).
If dehydrationpersists, there is a risk for chronic kidney disease (Armstrong, 2012, p.S122). Urine. Whendehydration occurs, the kidneys extract water from the urine to keep as muchwater in the body. This causes urine to be a much darker shade of yellow.Healthy urine when properly hydrated is clear or light yellow.
Vasopressin’s taskis to make urination as less frequent and urine as concentrated as possible (Boubyet al, 2003, p. S40). Blood.
When a personis dehydrated, the kidneys try to take as much water out of the urine as they canto move to the blood to increase the volume (Bouby et al, 2003, p. S39).ConclusionDehydration has shown to havemajor effects on the brain, heart, and kidneys. The body responds in extreme wayswhen a person is dehydrated or when dehydration persists, and it becomes chronic.
There are serious health conditions that can be caused by not having enough fluidsin one’s body. Dehydration is a serious matter.