In humans, dehydration can be caused by a wide range of diseases and states that impair water homeostasis in the body. These include:
- External or stress-related causes
- Prolonged physical activity with sweating without consuming adequate water, especially in a hot and/or dry environment
- Prolonged exposure to dry air, e.g. in high-flying airplanes (5–12% relative humidity)
- Blood loss or hypotension due to physical trauma
- Shock (hypovolemic)
- Use of methamphetamine, amphetamine, caffeine and other stimulants
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Electrolyte disturbance
- Hypernatremia (also caused by dehydration)
- Hyponatremia, especially from restricted salt diets
- Recent rapid weight loss may reflect progressive depletion of fluid volume (the loss of 1 L of fluid results in a weight loss of 1 kg (2.2 lb)).
- Patient refusal of nutrition and hydration
- Inability to swallow (obstruction of the oesophagus)
- Other causes of obligate water loss
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