A family member of a client with severe dehydration asks the nurse, "What are the common causes of dehydration?" The nurse appropriately answers by explaining

"Diarrhea"
"Severe vomiting"
"Use of diuretics"

Explanation

• The common causes of dehydration are: unmonitored use of diuretics (leading to excessive diuresis), severe vomiting, and prolonged diarrhea.

• Volume depletion can be produced by the loss of interstitial and intravascular fluid into a third space (tissue, organ, fracture, etc.). The fluid that collects here is displaced from the vascular compartment, leaving the patient dehydrated even while the abdomen (or other space) swells with fluid. Third-space fluid losses may be seen in patients with low albumin secondary to malnutrition or liver disease.  It is not a common cause of dehydration.

• When lymphatic channels are obstructed or have been removed or damaged, oncotic tissue pressure increases in that area because it cannot be drained well, leading to edema.

• Addison's disease or adrenal crisis is one of the potential causes of fluid loss, but is not a common cause of dehydration.

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