Ways to Avoid Water Intoxication

Big image
Nowadays, more people are becoming conscious of their health and tend to avoid excessive FSS, or fat, sugar and salt, in their food. Diet, exercise and fitness programs are rapidly becoming a trend. Thus, water consumption during strenuous activities is needed more than ever. But beware of how much water you drink, for there is a fatal condition called “hyponatremia” or water intoxication. Yes, too much water can also lead to a dangerous health condition.

What is Hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia refers to a condition where the sodium level in the body is low. It is also known as water intoxication, over hydration or water poisoning, and is often caused by excess fluid in the body which disturbs brain functions due to abnormal balance of electrolytes.

If you’re fond of drinking water, there is no need to worry unless your water intake goes to such an extreme level –only severe hyponatremia can cause death. In fact, recorded deaths due to this condition have resulted from water drinking contests or from long sessions of exhausting exercise where the individual consumed lots of water beyond the body’s limit. In some cases, patients suffered comatose.

Ever watched a movie where the protagonist was tortured and forced to engulf excessive water? Over hydration somehow reminds me of such a scene, except without the fuss over tormenting suspects and forcing information out of them.

Causes of Water Poisoning

Aside from large intake of water, timing also plays a role. If too much water is consumed in a short period of time or as fast as one can, then intoxication may occur.

Babies, under one year of age, are very prone to too much water absorption due to their small body mass. Mothers, take note of this and be extra careful in feeding your baby.

There are also some cases where a person is inclined to consume huge amounts of water due to a psychiatric condition called ‘psychogenic polydipsia’. A person with this mental disorder feels that his mouth is dry and therefore increases his fluid intake, not knowing that his “dry mouth” is due to medication.

Activities which cause excessive sweating may lead to over hydration as well, since one would be likely to drink too much fluid to replace lost ones. Same goes with heat stress. Now I know why my college dance instructor only allows us to take sips of water during breaks; he said it’s to build stamina, but it’s actually to prevent us from suffering hyponatremia.

Watch Out for Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of water poisoning are nonspecific. Massive water intake is usually accompanied by headache, vomiting, nausea, tiredness, muscle spasms and seizure. Restlessness and fatigue are also notable signs. In worst-case scenario, coma may even indicate over hydration.

How to Prevent Over Hydration

Knowledge is power. Now that you know that too much water can also lead to fatal health issues, avoid drinking over abundant fluids. If you have to participate in exercises which will lead to over perspiration, opt for sports drinks instead of water; they contain just enough amount of sodium. Better yet, consume food with enough sodium content days before any physically demanding event.

Though water may seem harmless, too much of everything is bad. In case you or some of your friends suffer from over hydration, it’s not the right time to call for an emergency plumber Sydney but to call for professional medical help ASAP.