Dehydration: when does it become chronic and how severe is it?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Your body needs water for all functions it performs. Dehydration is the term for your body's response when you don't drink sufficient water, bringing about a lack of fluid. Chronic dehydration is a condition when dehydration repeats for longer periods, occasionally aside from how much liquid you drink on a specific day.

The vast majority are inclined to intense dehydration in specific situations, like outrageous heat exposure or lengthy physical activity. Instances of typical dehydration can be settled by resting and drinking water.

Yet, chronic dehydration passes the phase of essentially utilizing more liquid than you take in. All things considered, it turns into a continuous issue where you're constraining your body to work without sufficient water. Chronic dehydration, when critical, requires medical attention.

At the point when left untreated, chronic dehydration has been connected to other ailments like hypertension and kidney stones.

Signs and symptoms

At the point when you're dehydrated, you might encounter at least one of the symptoms:

  • muscle exhaustion

  • extreme thirst

  • darker urine

  • dizziness

Chronic dehydration can be found in a bit unexpected way. You might encounter any one of the above indications. However, you may not even notice that you're low on liquid. This occurs as your body turns out to be less responsive to water intake and attempts to manage with less water, paying little heed to the amount you're drinking. Different indications of chronic dehydration include:

  • constipation

  • dry or flaky skin

  • continuous fatigue

  • continuous muscle exhaustion

  • constant migraines

Indications of chronic dehydration that a doctor might search for include a concentrated blood volume, unusual electrolyte levels, and diminished kidney function over the long haul.


The causes of chronic dehydration can change. Hazard factors for creating chronic dehydration include:

  • living in hotter environments

  • working outside

  • having just irregular admittance to water

Heatstroke and living in a more sultry environment are regularly connected.

Constant diarrhea can leave you dehydrated. Certain gastrointestinal conditions can make you more inclined to diarrhea, including:

  • fiery gut sickness

  • nonceliac gluten affectability

  • irritable bowel syndrome

Dehydration can happen in children. Infants and toddlers who can't communicate that they're parched can turn out to be intensely dehydrated. Childhood illnesses joined by fever, diarrhea, or vomiting also get kids defenseless against dehydration. Be aware of the warning indications of dehydration in toddlers.

Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can likewise put you at a higher danger for dehydration. Hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition brought about by pregnancy, can make it particularly difficult to keep up with appropriate hydration levels.


In the event that your doctor speculates you have chronic dehydration, they might run a few tests. A straightforward physical test to check for any sort of dehydration is known as a skin turgor test. This measures your skin's elasticity, showing if your liquid levels are ideal. By squeezing your skin delicately and seeing the duration of time it requires for your skin to recapture its normal shape thereafter, your doctor can get a sign of whether you're dehydrated.

Another testing for chronic dehydration requires lab work. These tests will show the degree of your dehydration. Likewise, having a benchmark to look at resulting labs over the long run can assist your doctor with separating intense and chronic dehydration. They can also assist your doctor with choosing what sort of treatment to suggest.

Tests for chronic dehydration include:

  • Urinalysis. Testing your urine will help your doctor check whether your body is creating enough or too little urine.

  • Chemistry panel testing. This blood test will uncover the degrees of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, in your body. This test can likewise demonstrate if your kidneys can deal with squander effectively.


At the point when you have chronic dehydration, drinking plain water is now and then insufficient to reestablish your body's electrolyte balance. Beverages with added electrolytes might be endorsed to assist your body with recuperating lost liquid.

Rather than drinking a high volume of fluid on the double, you might have to drink little amounts of liquid all the more regularly. In extreme instances of chronic dehydration, you might be hospitalized and have an intravenous line to convey liquids straightforwardly into your bloodstream until dehydration improves.

Your long-term care will be designed for forestalling future dehydration. This will rely upon what's causing your dehydration in any case. Tending to basic stomach-related and organ conditions might be essential for your chronic dehydration therapy.

On the off chance that your chronic dehydration is identified with your lifestyle, occupation, or diet, you can work with your doctor to make changes that may tame dehydration. Conceivable choices include:

  1. following your day by day water intake by utilizing a diary or an application

  2. diminishing alcohol intake

  3. managing stress level

  4. scaling back diuretic drug treatment

  5. scaling back caffeine if it's making you lose liquid

Recovery Duration

Duration of recovery for dehydration relies upon the hidden cause and may also depend on how long you've been dehydrated. In the event that your dehydration is serious enough that it requires hospitalization, or on the other hand, in case it's joined by heatstroke, it might require 1 - 2 days before you can be discharged from the facility.

When the emergency phase of dehydration has passed, your doctor will keep on observing your recuperation. You'll have to follow treatment rules for at least several weeks while your doctor screens your temperature, urine volume, and electrolytes.


In case you're chronically dehydrated, you can foster other medical conditions. Side effects like nausea, migraines, dizziness, and muscle cramping might proceed or deteriorate as your dehydration advances.

Continuous dehydration has been connected to:

  • diminished kidney work

  • kidney stones

  • hypertension

  • urinary tract infections

  • gastrointestinal failure

  • dementia

Researchers are continuing their endeavor to see the entirety of the manners in which that chronic dehydration can affect your bodily functions.

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