Diagnosis of Dehydration

The diagnosis of dehydration is made in a clinical setting. The doctor not only assess whether you have dehydration or not, he would also diagnose its cause. Here are some of the tests for dehydration:

  • The doctor gives you mental status tests to ensure alertness and orientation. Children or infants with dehydration often appear listless.
  • Physical evaluation shows dryness and loss of muscle tone.
  • Vital signs are not in their normal range. The pulse decreases and blood pressure drops as well. There is depletion of fluids from the blood.
  • The doctor also takes your temperature. Dehydration may cause a rise in temperature.
  • The doctor also checks your skin to see the presence of sweat. Skin becomes less elastic and the groins as well as armpits are very dry.

Doctors may weigh children to assess the amount of water lost due to dehydration. However, this can only give a very rough estimate of the amount of loss of moisture.

Some of the laboratory tests associated with dehydration include:

  • Blood Tests: These are used to check any possible abnormalities in the electrolyte levels. Depending on the underlying cause of the condition, the doctor may or may not advise additional tests. A blood chemistry test is usually prescribed if the dehydration is too severe.
  • Hemoglobin and red blood cell count is also recommended. With water loss, both of these become concentrated in the blood.
  • Testing BUN and creatinine levels assesses kidney functioning. Elevated levels are a sign of dehydration.
  • In rare cases, a doctor asks for a urinalysis. This determines urine concentration. If a person is dehydrated, urine is more concentrated.