COMPLICATIONS OF DIARRHEA ILLNESS
- Deficit of fluid and electrolytes (salts) in the body due to their loss in stools and vomiting is the most common and potentially serious complication of any type of diarrhea.
- Person of any age can get dehydrated but it develops more quickly and is most dangerous in small children.
- Severe dehydration occurs rapidly in cholera and invariably leads to death if not corrected soon.
II. Electrolytes disturbances – Loss of various electrolytes and/or improper intake of fluids with low or excessive electrolytes can lead to various types of imbalances.
- Hyponatremia (low blood sodium)
- Hypokalemia (low blood potassium)
- Hypernatremia (excess of sodium in blood)
- These imbalances result in irritability, muscular weakness and cramps, arrhythmia (irregular heart beats), altered sensorium and even fits.
III. Low blood sugar levels (Hypoglycemia) – It can occur in a weak child with diarrhea whose food intake is not satisfactory (either due to persistent vomiting or diet restrictions). It can be dangerous and can lead to loss of consciousness, fits and even death.
IV. Convulsions / fits – Can occur not only as a result of above complications but also due to high fever in children.
V. Vitamin deficiencies – Vitamin A deficiency can occur in children who are already undernourished or who have recently suffered a bout of measles.