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What does severe dehydration in an elderly person?

Answered by
Dr. Albana Sejdini

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 3491 Questions

Posted on Tue, 7 Mar 2017 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: My 93 year old aunt was taken from nursing home to ER today due to dehydration. She is suffering massive fluid loss through the skin on her legs. The amount of fluid loss is requiring staff to mop the floors in her room. They have bandages around her legs, but to no avail. Her bed is wet, leaking onto floor, etc. What is the cause and name of this condition? Thanks in advance. Don Saulters
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Need more details regarding your aunt health problems as following...

Detailed Answer:
Hi Don,

I am sorry for the health problems your 93 years old aunt is going through.

Now, you say that she is suffering of massive fluid loss through the skin on her legs at the amount that requires staff to mop the floor in her room.

Now, I need to ask if she :
- had a severe burning case?
- does she have blisters or ulcers in her legs?
- is she profusely sweating?
- what other chronic illness is she suffering: cardiovascular? edema? kidney? liver? infectious disease?

First, I need to understand why she is losing fluids? Then, try to think of possible (best) treatment.

For the moment, electrolyte and fluids replacement therapy is highly recommended.

Looking forward to have the requested information in.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Albana Sejdini 27 minutes later
She has been diagnosed with a tumor on/in her colon. Given her age and frail state, I think her oncologist is afraid to perform surgery to remove said tumor.

Negative on burn or any other chronic disease that I'm aware of.
Thank you.

Also negative on ulcers on her legs, nor is she profusely sweating. However, her legs are completely covered in bruises.
Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini 16 hours later
Brief Answer:
suspected micro-infarction due to colon tumor...

Detailed Answer:
Hi back,

Thank you for the additional details you provided.

Based on the new data, and her personal history of colon tumor, I believe she is having micro-infarction causing lymphedema (blood not circulating well in the lower extremities). This explains the loss of fluids from her legs and the presence of bruises.

Taking all these into account, I can imagine that she is seriously ill unfortunately.
Immediate fluid replacement therapy is suggested.

Wish fast recovery.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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