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Water is vital to the human body, and staying hydrated should be a top priority for anyone looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can, however, actually take your quest for hydration too far. Drinking too much water can cause side effects that range from mildly irritating to life-threatening — and overhydration can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes in the body.

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But too much of it can lead to water intoxication.

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Every cell in the body needs water to function correctly. However, drinking too much can lead to water intoxication and serious health consequences. It is difficult to drink too much water by accident, but it can happen, usually as a result of overhydrating during sporting events or intense training.

8 s you're drinking too much water

The symptoms of water intoxication are general — they can include confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. This article describes the symptoms, causes, and effects Signs water intoxication water intoxication. It also looks into how much water a person should drink each day. Also known as water poisoning, water intoxication is a disruption of brain function caused by drinking too much water.

Doing so increases the amount of water in the blood. This can dilute the electrolytes, especially sodium, in the blood. Sodium helps maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. When sodium levels drop due to excessive water consumption, fluids travel from the outside to the inside of cells, causing them to swell.

Bottom line : Water intoxication from drinking too much water.


The excess water dilutes sodium in the blood and causes fluids to move inside cells, causing them to swell. When a person consumes an excessive amount of water and cells in their brain start to swell, the pressure inside their skull increases. This causes the first symptoms of water intoxication, Signs water intoxication include:. A buildup of fluid in the brain is called cerebral edema. This can affect the brain stem and cause central nervous system dysfunction.

In severe cases, water intoxication can cause seizures, brain damage, a comaand even death.

Bottom line : Drinking too much water can increase the pressure inside the skull. This can cause various symptoms and, in severe cases, become fatal. Water intoxication is rare, and it is very difficult to consume too much water by accident. However, it can happen — there have been numerous medical reports of death due to excessive water intake.

Water intoxication most commonly affects people participating in sporting events or endurance training, or people who have various mental health conditions. Water intoxication is particularly common among endurance athletes.

It can happen if a person drinks a lot of water without correctly ing for electrolyte losses. Instances of water intoxication at these events have resulted in death. One case involved a runner who had collapsed after a marathon. The runner then developed water on the brain, known as hydrocephalusand a hernia in his brain stem, which caused his death. One medical report described 17 soldiers who developed hyponatremia after drinking too much water during training. According to another reportthree soldiers died due to hyponatremia and cerebral edema. These Signs water intoxication were associated with drinking more than 5 liters of water in just a few hours.

The symptoms of hyponatremia can be misinterpreted as those of dehydration.

According to one reporta soldier who received an incorrect diagnosis of dehydration and heat stroke died from water intoxication as a result of rehydration efforts. Compulsive water drinking, also called psychogenic polydipsiacan be a symptom of various mental health conditions.

Can drinking too much water be fatal? know the facts

It is most common among people with schizophreniabut it can also arise in people with affective disorders, psychosis, and personality disorders. Bottom line : Water intoxication can be life threatening, and it is most common among soldiers in training, endurance athletes, and people with schizophrenia. It is difficult to consume too much water by accident.

However, it can happen, and there have been numerous reports Signs water intoxication death due to excess water intake. People at risk of death from water intoxication tend to be participating in endurance sporting events or military training. A person who is doing neither is unlikely to die from drinking too much water.

Overhydration and water intoxication happen when a person drinks more water than their kidneys can get rid of via urine. According to figures quoted in a studythe kidneys can eliminate about 20—28 liters of water a day, but they can remove no more than 0. To avoid hyponatremia, it is important not Signs water intoxication outpace the kidneys by drinking more water than they can eliminate.

The authors of the study report that hyponatremia symptoms can develop if a person drinks 3—4 liters of water in a short period, though they do not give a specific time estimate. According to one case reportsoldiers developed symptoms after consuming at least 2 quarts 1.

Another report describes the development of hyponatremia after drinking more than 5 liters in a few hours.

The earliest s you’re drinking too much water

Water intoxication and prolonged hyponatremia also occurred in an otherwise healthy year-old prisoner who drank 6 liters of water in 3 hours. Finally, according to one reporta 9-year-old girl developed water intoxication after consuming 3.

Bottom line : The kidneys can remove 20—28 liters of water per day, but they cannot excrete more than 0. Drinking more than this can be harmful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDCthere are no official guidelines about how much water a person needs to drink each day.

The right amount differs, depending on factors such as body weightlevel of physical activity, the climate, and whether they are breastfeeding. InThe National Academy of Medicine recommended that women aged 19—30 consume around 2. However, this was not based on research. Relying on thirst may not work for everyone.

Athletes, older adults, and pregnant women, for example, may need to drink more water each day. To estimate the right amount, it can help to consider calories.

If a person needs 2, calories per day, they should also consume 2, milliliters of water per day. about daily water intake recommendations here. Drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication. This is rare and tends to develop among endurance athletes and soldiers.

There are no official guidelines about how much water to drink. To avoid water intoxication, some sources recommend drinking no more than 0. Drinking water is often overlooked as a necessary part of staying healthy. The body and blood are largely made of water, and so we need a lot Signs water intoxication fluid…. Many automatic processes in the body run on small electric currents, and electrolytes provide this charge.

Electrolytes are Signs water intoxication throughout the…. Drinking water at any time of day helps someone to rehydrate. However, if they drink it at certain times of the day, there may be other consequences. Drinking raw water is a relatively new health phenomenon, but are the rumors about its health benefits true, or is it dangerous? Find out here. Dark-colored urine and thirst are classic s that someone is dehydrated. The simple solution is to drink more.

But when dehydration occurs in the…. What happens if you drink too much water? Water intoxication Dangers Causes Can it be fatal? How much is too much? How much water do you need? Summary Every cell in the body needs water to function correctly.

Your urine is clear

What is water intoxication? Share on Pinterest A person may experience water intoxication if they drink too much water.

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