Drinking adequate water is required for the proper functioning of our body cells. But over-hydration is an issue. The amount of water one should consume daily cannot be calculated using a specific benchmark. But the widely accepted suggestion is to drink at least eight glasses daily. A person’s environment, exercise routine, general health, and circumstances, such as pregnancy or breastfeeding, determine the amount of water their body requires.
This blog tries to address water intoxication, also known as hyperhydration, and its complications.
How much water is too much?
It is not that a particular volume of water always results in fatal water poisoning. It is preferable to consider how much water a person consumes in an hour. Age, gender, and general health are other parameters which need to be considered.
A healthy adult’s kidneys can remove about 20 to 28 litres of water per day, but they can only eliminate about 1 litre per hour. When people drink more than 1 litre each hour, their kidneys struggle to keep up.
Older people and children typically have less efficient kidneys. So, the amount of water they can safely consume every hour may be slightly less than others.
What are the symptoms of hyperhydration?
When a person drinks more than 3 to 4 L of water in a short period, they may start showing symptoms of water intoxication. Headaches, muscle cramps, spasms, dizziness, vomiting, sluggishness, exhaustion and weakness are possible symptoms of water intoxication.
It can potentially result in seizures or loss of consciousness in more severe cases. Water intoxication can be lethal if the affected one is not treated as early as possible.
What are the causes of hyperhydration?
Most reported incidents of life-threatening water poisoning had involved strenuous physical exercise, such as military training or marathon running. Others result from excessive water intake brought on by a mental health issue or forced ingestion as a form of abuse.
Also, using the drug MDMA links to water intoxication, particularly at music events. It happens because individuals dance for extended periods in a hot environment. Due to this, they may drink a lot of water along with MDMA’s propensity to make you feel hotter.
If you consume more water than your body can process, the salt in your blood gets diluted, which can cause cells to expand.
Is hyperhydration fatal?
Although it is unusual, it is a possibility. People can die from consuming too much water. For this to happen, one would need to consume a significant amount of water quickly, which is difficult for most people to accomplish unintentionally.
But if a person engages in several physically demanding activities or is an endurance athlete, their risk may be higher. When this happens, one can typically detect if they need to drink more water by checking the colour of the urine and how thirsty they feel.
Depending on the person’s general health, size, and other criteria, the healthcare provider can provide more detailed advice.
Is it possible to prevent hyper-hydration?
A few fundamental guidelines can help one prevent water intoxication if one frequently consumes a lot of water in a short period.
Drinking water at the first feeling of thirst is advisable rather than waiting. Once you quench your thirst, you can wait until the next incidence and may refrain from drinking during that interval.
One may also use the colour of the urine to adjust the water intake. If your urine is crystal clear, you may be in danger of over-hydration. Clear urine isn’t always dangerous, but it is a sign that you need not drink water for a while.
If one is preparing to engage in a strenuous workout, consider hydrating with a sodium-containing electrolyte beverage, such as a sports drink.
Water is a sizable component of the human body and is essential for cell survival and function. When a person needs extra water, their body will let them know. When one drinks too much without lending their ears to the body cues, it can lead to fatal conditions. If one is unsure how much water one should consume each day, follow the standard recommendation of eight glasses or visit the healthcare provider for expert guidance.