BACKGROUND

In the past, the need to measure the
hydration level of body was not that much severe as it is now, so nothing
prominent was being present to check the water level in our body to avoid
dehydration issues but with the passage of time as we feel a need to check our
hydration level to maintain required water level in our body different methods
were being introduced by different scientists. Among those few options are
physical signs and symptoms, plasma/serum osmolality, urinary parameters and
saliva osmolality. All of these techniques were more or less the invasive
techniques i.e. Plasma osmolality is one of the good one to measure the
water level in our body but requires an invasive blood sample and will not
identify extracellular dehydration (e.g. diarrhea, diuretic administration etc.).
Urinary marker is better with chronic fluid losses (e.g. prolonged fluid restriction)
but has been shown to have poor diagnostic accuracy in elderly hospitalized
patients. Saliva may be an alternative in such a case to overcome the
difficulties being faced in above two cases but it also have some diagnostic accuracy
issues which were being resolved by making them function altogether in an
expected way.   

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As the time passes and different development in
technology takes place monitoring of important biological processes of the
human body becomes one of the current concerns of personal medicine to ensure
healthy and long life expectancies. Excessive dehydration has negative impact on
health and also causes physical problems. In this case body water could loss up
to 2% of the weight and can increase the risk of heat stroke. This can be a lot
severe for those working/competing in hot environments (i.e. athletes, fire fighters
and military officers etc.). Many techniques are available to assess the water
level of body as discussed above but it isn’t clear uptill now to identify the
best one. Blood osmolality is considered the best uptill now but it also
requires an invasive method (i.e. blood sample). Due to the fact that nothing
was found to be the quickest and completely reliable method so the interest
towards non-invasive techniques starts to develop that would be fast, easy to
use, inexpensive and accurate method to measure the exact hydration level of
the body.

A lot of research has been done in this context to develop some
easy to use non-invasive methods of measuring water level. One of the
non-invasive method is determination of potassium content in urine (potassium
content has inverse relation with water level in the body). This method also
have some difficulty as we require the sample to be tested to say anything about
the water level in the body, so the need arises to make something which can easily
be used by elderly through which they can get to know when they need a glass of
water to remain hydrated. From this point of view, interest in wearable,
portable and hand-held sensors to provide health monitoring functions has increased
in the last decades.  

 

INTRODUCTION

For one’s body to work properly required level of water must be
maintained. Dehydration occurs when the water level falls below the required
level. It happens mostly when intake of water is less than the water depleting.
Mostly young children, infants and older adults face this problem of
dehydration. Common causes of dehydration are sweating, headache, vomiting and
constipation.

Quantitative measurement of the water level in a body is a bit
difficult task and it can be related with the one’s working in hot environments
like athletes, fire fighters etc. For avoiding any serious health problem a
micro-sensor can be used on the skin that can give them an indication of low
water level in their body.

Few people might think that as soon as they feel thirsty they would
take some water and easily avoid the possibility of dehydration but this is not
the case because there might be a possibility of getting dehydrated before
having a thirst for water. And this issue is very severe in case of elder
patients. So, to maintain that required water level and avoid any critical
situation we must utilize the dehydration sensors which detects the amount of
water level through different means (PH, perspiration, dryness of body etc.) and
will let you know about your condition before going through excessive water
loss.

By going
through several means of measuring water level, prototypes of different sensors
were being made by the researchers which includes wearable smart phone enabled
watch, dehydration detecting diaper pad, wrist worn sensor that uses tiny
needles, dehydration alerting urinal and a watch that measures dehydration
using light.     

IMPORTANCE

The non-invasive methods kept a lot of importance in present world
for measuring water level in a body because it can be used by the ones working
in hot environments. One of the dehydration sensors i.e. Perspiration based
dehydration sensor is important in a way that as soon as the sweat comes in
contact with the sensor it will generate an electrical signal and send it to
actuator that will let us know the amount of water level in our body and will
protect us from dehydrating.

If anyone (especially elderly patients) won’t be aware of the water
level condition and don’t drink excessive water to remain hydrated then there
are chances that they might get dehydrated and will suffer from short term effects
i.e. irritability, short term memory and headaches etc. Along with these short
term effects, dehydration also has some long term effects on kidney, heart function and gastrointestinal that
majorly contributes to constipation, chronic heart disease and kidney disease.