Hopefully, we all now understand the importance of hydration and the negative consequences of dehydration. That being said, it is possible to drink too much water, and the effects can be devastating for the unwary. This is commonly known as water intoxication, and it can affect the body in a number of different ways. Let’s take a closer look at this condition and offer some advice on how to avoid it.
Before We Begin:
Water intoxication is known as hyponatremia amongst the medical profession. As devastating as the effects could be, it’s important to realise that this is a very rare occurrence. The status quo is usually a lack of sufficient hydration, and most people could definitely benefit from drinking more and not less water. We will take a look at some symptoms of water intoxication later, and if you have any concerns, you should consult a medical professional.
What is Water Intoxication?
We need water for our health and well being; this is especially true for the organs in our bodies. As an example: our kidneys are responsible for balancing the electrolytes and fluids in our bodies. The electrolyte in question here is sodium. When too much water is drunk, the concentration of sodium in our blood is lowered, and water intoxication occurs. The liquid being drunk is moved from the blood into cells in your body, causing swelling and inflammation. This can cause a number of different health issues in your body.
How Does Water Intoxication Occur?
The time frame rather than the quantities of water drunk is the primary determining factor in water intoxication. When large quantities of water are drunk in a very short period of time water intoxication can be a very real danger. Those at particular risk are athletes undergoing endurance activities and they water intake must be carefully monitored. The loss of sodium via perspiration can speed the process of water intoxication up, and many long distance runners have crashed with low blood sodium levels.
Five Common Water Intoxication Symptoms:
There are five main water intoxication symptoms to be aware of, they are:
Slurred Speech: those suffering from water intoxication may sound drunk.
Disorientation: this is a sign that the brain is being affected.
Extreme Fatigue: restlessness, cramps, and weakness when exercising.
Nausea: the stomach may bloat, as it cannot hold the excess water.
Brain Swelling: this can lead to seizures, cardiac arrest and have fatal consequences in rare cases.
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