Dehydration not always fatal, say experts

by Symptom Advice on November 19, 2011

Though the death of a Syrian body builder Mahmoud Ibrahim Alhdidi, 29, has raised speculation that dehydration was the ultimate cause of death, experts say it is not always fatal.

Alhdidi, a participant of Mister Universe 2011 held in Mumbai, was declared dead a day before the competition began. He was supposed to be participating in the 75 kg category and was on a weight control regimen ahead of the event.

Preliminary reports blame dehydration for his death.

However, experts say that other effects which take place along with the dehydration could have caused the death. Dr. S. Jairam of Bombay Hosptial said, “Dehydration is a treatable condition in most cases and is not always fatal. Fatal cases may be caused only by excessive exertion, less fluids in the body or gastroentritis and sudden change in the blood pressure”.

Dr. Anuja Balose of Lilavati Hospital echoed Jairam. “In dehydration cases, the metabolism of the body stops completely which could lead to multiple organ failure if not treated in time,” she said.

She insisted that such cases are however, rare. “It is more common in extremely hot places or when there is an epidemic of diseases like cholera, mostly found in children and the elderly. It is very difficult to say that it can cause sudden death”.

Dehydration symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, shortness of breath, vapid pulse rate etc are noticeable when there is a loss of 2 per cent of the body’s normal water content.

It is known to be fatal in cases where the patient’s symptoms have been left untreated for longer than five days by loss of over 15 per cent of water.

“Alhdidi fell unconscious due to dehydration and was rushed to a hospital in Malad by the organisers where he was declared dead for suspected heart attack,” Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Secretary, Sanjay More said.

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