Does Dehydration Increase Your Heart Rate? 8 FAQs About Dehydration

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

When you don’t replenish the fluids your body uses or loses, you become dehydrated and unable to perform basic bodily processes. Infants and the elderly are more vulnerable to the effects of dehydration, although anyone can experience it.

Dehydration can happen to anyone of any age if they don’t drink enough water during hot weather, particularly if they’re working hard or heavily exerting themselves. Older people can get dehydrated from even relatively mild diseases, such as respiratory or urinary tract infections, while severe diarrhea and vomiting are the leading causes of dehydration in young infants.

Mild to moderate dehydration is typically treatable with additional fluid intake, but severe dehydration requires urgent medical attention.

Continue reading to find the answers to some of the most common questions about dehydration.

What are the symptoms of dehydration?

Depending on how much water is lost, dehydration may range from mild to severe. Thirst and dark-colored urine are two warning signs of dehydration. The body does this to attempt to balance its fluid levels by increasing water consumption and decreasing water loss.

Additional symptoms might be:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth, eyes, skin, and lips
  • Less frequent urination (less than three or four times a day)
Dried flowers as a metaphor for dehydration and water loss

The loss of strength and stamina is another potential effect of dehydration. You may even be more susceptible to heat exhaustion. Chronic dehydration impairs kidney function and raises the chance of developing kidney stones. Constipation and muscular injury are two other possible outcomes.

Can dehydration cause a UTI?

Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the numerous consequences that may arise from being chronically dehydrated. Multiple variables, including urine flow and voiding frequency, have been shown to inhibit bacterial development in the urinary tract.

Urine has antibacterial properties despite being a growing medium for the overwhelming majority of microorganisms. The elimination of microorganisms from the urinary system and their dilution by urine flow are both essential processes.

UTIs can be avoided if you drink enough fluids throughout the day, urinate frequently, and avoid holding urine for too long.

An increase in the risk of developing a UTI is associated with even slight dehydration, which is characterized by a decrease in the body’s urine flow. So staying hydrated is critical for reducing your risk of UTIs since dehydration and UTIs are interconnected. Decreased urine production due to dehydration promotes bacterial proliferation.

Urine-specific gravity tests can determine if you are dehydrated.

Does dehydration increase your heart rate?

The heart and circulatory system can be significantly impacted by dehydration. There is a correlation between being dehydrated and experiencing heart palpitations. Heart palpitations are a symptom of an electrolyte imbalance, which may be brought on by dehydration.

Blood volume, or the quantity of blood in circulation, drops when you’re dehydrated. So your heart needs to work harder to circulate blood through a dehydrated body. Your heart rate may accelerate and become irregular as a result of this additional exertion.

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Can dehydration cause elevated liver enzymes?

The cleansing effects of water are well known. A lack of fluids may have negative effects on the body since water accounts for around 70 percent of the human body.

Insufficient fluid intake may impair liver function, so it’s important to drink enough to avoid complications. Keeping hydrated reduces the chance of disease, and drinking water is helpful for keeping the liver’s stores topped up.

Since the liver has the major function of detoxification in your body, its enzymes can be elevated if you don’t take in enough water.

Can you get a sore throat from dehydration?

Dehydration may cause a sore throat, which might be an early warning sign that you aren’t getting enough to drink. Dehydration reduces saliva production, which dries out the mouth and throat.

Your throat might get quite itchy if you don’t drink enough water since it dries up and becomes more sensitive.

A dry, scratchy throat and a dry tongue are common symptoms of dehydration.

People often spend many hours without drinking anything, increasing their risk of dehydration and throat irritation. If you have a dehydration-induced sore throat, drinking enough water can certainly help.

Can dehydration cause back pain?

Dehydration reactions cause the gelatinous substance in your discs to lose water, making it harder for them to support your weight and potentially causing the disc to collapse and push on the nerves leaving your spine, causing discomfort in your back.

A disc lies between each pair of vertebrae in your spine, and their major function is to prevent the bones from rubbing against one another while also providing cushioning, stress absorption, and flexibility.

Your discs, like jelly doughnuts, have a tough outer ring of fiber and a softer, more gelatinous component in the middle. Your spine is essentially cushioned by this gelatinous region, medically referred to as the nucleus pulposus.

A glass of water as a way to prevent back pain caused by dehydration

The discs in your spine absorb a lot of stress during the day, and the water inside of them slowly seeps out. Normally, this isn’t an issue since your spinal discs regularly replenish their water supply as you move.

However, the discs can start to dry up and shrink when you don’t drink enough during the day. So if you are having back pain brought on by dehydration, getting a drink of water can help.

How is dehydration treated?

In order to alleviate dehydration, it’s important to consume plenty of fluids.

Dehydration in infants is a medical emergency that requires prompt attention from a doctor. They can advise on the best course of therapy, which may include the options listed below.

  • Provide your infant with enough breast milk or formula to drink. In many cases, it is preferable to give them fluids in smaller quantities more regularly.
  • Do not water down your infant’s formula (if you use it). Infants who are being fed formula or solid foods might benefit from receiving more water.
  • If your infant is experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, you should avoid feeding them fruit juice.
  • In addition to your baby’s normal feed (breast milk, formula milk, and water), you may aid in the recovery process by giving them small sips of oral rehydration solution every few hours.

Water alone should not be provided to infants and children who are dehydrated since it dilutes the already low amount of minerals in their bodies and makes the condition worse. They should have diluted juice or an oral rehydration solution.

In the event that nausea and vomiting are making it difficult to maintain fluid intake, try taking smaller quantities more often. If you need to give your child a tiny quantity of liquid, you may find that using a spoon or syringe is the easiest option.

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Rehydration salts and other oral solutions

As well as water, the dehydration reaction includes a loss of sugar and salts. You may restore your body’s normal fluid balance by drinking a rehydration solution. Glucose or starch, in addition to potassium and sodium salts, should make up the solution.

Infant and pediatric-safe rehydration solutions are among the many over-the-counter options for treating dehydration. If you need guidance when choosing a rehydration solution, see your doctor or local pharmacy.

Severe dehydration

If you or someone else suspects severe dehydration, a diagnosis for dehydration is required. They may need hospitalization in order to get care. In particular, dehydration poses a serious threat to the health of the young and the old and requires immediate medical attention.

A nasogastric tube may be used to provide fluids, or a saline drip can be placed in a vein to provide intravenous hydration. You’ll get the nutrients you need far more quickly than with ingestible solutions.

Some rehydration treatments lack the salt necessary for those who have had intestinal surgery. You’ll need something stronger than that. You may ask your doctor or surgeon for advice on the best rehydration solution for you. Dehydration lab tests are also available for this purpose.

What to eat when you’re dehydrated

Consume plenty of meals that are mostly water. You can factor in the liquid content of solid foods when considering your regular fluid intake. Many fresh produce items consist of more than 90 percent water.

Water is a major component of many fruits and vegetables, including:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

Water is also found in abundant quantities in foods including soups, popsicles, and gelatins. Home remedies for dehydration include drinking enough water and having meals with high water content.


Water is essential for the normal function of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. It regulates body temperature; facilitates urination, sweating, and bowel movements; and provides cushioning and lubrication for joints. It’s been shown that drinking water regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Every day, your heart pumps around 2,000 liters of blood. You may aid your heart’s function by drinking more water than you lose each day. So you need to drink enough water to keep you going.

March 2, 2023