Posted on by Anabelle Savion

 

Polyuria (increased urine output) and polydipsia (increased thirst) are classic symptoms of diabetes. They often indicate how well diabetes is controlled. Polyuria and polydipsia along with severe dehydration, are often the initial symptoms of diabetes. The question arises as to why the body starts to lose more fluids in diabetes, and what are its implications?

In diabetes, as the blood glucose rises above the standard acceptable levels, our body tries hard to bring it back to the normal. One of the mechanisms involved in reducing blood sugars is through increased elimination via the kidneys. However, as the kidneys work harder to get rid of extra glucose in the blood, they also eliminate more fluids in the process.

Another reason for dehydration in diabetes is higher osmotic pressure in blood vessels triggered by the increased glucose concentration, resulting in dehydration of body cells. If blood glucose is too high in the blood, it literarily sucks the water from the body cells.

Dehydration in diabetes is a vicious circle. As the body loses fluids due to dehydration, the glucose concentration is further increased, resulting in even further dehydration of the body cells. Moreover, the increase of glucose concentration in the blood stimulates more urea production, and increases the dehydration, which also increases insulin resistance. Obviously there is a need to break this vicious cycle.

 

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

As the water content in the body goes down, skin becomes dry, as do the mouth and eyes. The person may feel increased thirst, headaches, tiredness or dizziness. In severe cases, a fall in blood pressure can cause sunken eyes, weak pulse, confusion, and lethargy.

Preventing dehydration in diabetes

Those living with diabetes are at increased risk of dehydration. This may also negatively impact the blood glucose control particularly during summers, when even mild physical exertion may cause dehydration. Therefore, people with diabetes should drink more fluids and more often. There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much fluid to consume, as that would depend on environmental temperature, the intensity of physical activity, and severity of the disease. Nonetheless, a diabetic person should make a habit of drinking fluids in small portions every half an hour.

While special drinks are reserved for more severe conditions, it is essential to consume more water or other fluids such as sugarless green tea, which can be consumed either hot or cold, depending on personal preference and weather conditions.

One way to keep hydrated is to make drinking a routine. Drinking a cup of green tea five times a day at a fixed time, would help to stay hydrated and prevent any complications.

A diabetic can drink sports or energy drinks in moderation as long as the diabetes is not severe, but they are best avoided, as these special drinks are high in added sugars.

Although alcohol in moderation is not contraindicated in diabetes, it could have other undesired effects on the electrolyte balance and hemodynamics. Alcohol is better avoided by those who have blood pressure problems, and those who have difficulty in staying hydrated.

 

Polyuria (increased urine output) and polydipsia (increased thirst) are classic symptoms of diabetes. They often indicate how well diabetes is controlled. Polyuria and polydipsia along with severe dehydration, are often the initial symptoms of diabetes. The question arises as to why the body starts to lose more fluids in diabetes, and what are its implications?

In diabetes, as the blood glucose rises above the standard acceptable levels, our body tries hard to bring it back to the normal. One of the mechanisms involved in reducing blood sugars is through increased elimination via the kidneys. However, as the kidneys work harder to get rid of extra glucose in the blood, they also eliminate more fluids in the process.

Another reason for dehydration in diabetes is higher osmotic pressure in blood vessels triggered by the increased glucose concentration, resulting in dehydration of body cells. If blood glucose is too high in the blood, it literarily sucks the water from the body cells.

Dehydration in diabetes is a vicious circle. As the body loses fluids due to dehydration, the glucose concentration is further increased, resulting in even further dehydration of the body cells. Moreover, the increase of glucose concentration in the blood stimulates more urea production, and increases the dehydration, which also increases insulin resistance. Obviously there is a need to break this vicious cycle.

 

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

As the water content in the body goes down, skin becomes dry, as do the mouth and eyes. The person may feel increased thirst, headaches, tiredness or dizziness. In severe cases, a fall in blood pressure can cause sunken eyes, weak pulse, confusion, and lethargy.

Preventing dehydration in diabetes

Those living with diabetes are at increased risk of dehydration. This may also negatively impact the blood glucose control particularly during summers, when even mild physical exertion may cause dehydration. Therefore, people with diabetes should drink more fluids and more often. There is no hard and fast rule regarding how much fluid to consume, as that would depend on environmental temperature, the intensity of physical activity, and severity of the disease. Nonetheless, a diabetic person should make a habit of drinking fluids in small portions every half an hour.

While special drinks are reserved for more severe conditions, it is essential to consume more water or other fluids such as sugarless green tea, which can be consumed either hot or cold, depending on personal preference and weather conditions.

One way to keep hydrated is to make drinking a routine. Drinking a cup of green tea five times a day at a fixed time, would help to stay hydrated and prevent any complications.

A diabetic can drink sports or energy drinks in moderation as long as the diabetes is not severe, but they are best avoided, as these special drinks are high in added sugars.

Although alcohol in moderation is not contraindicated in diabetes, it could have other undesired effects on the electrolyte balance and hemodynamics. Alcohol is better avoided by those who have blood pressure problems, and those who have difficulty in staying hydrated.