We see them on hot summer days, the mothers, the joggers, the tourists, the walkers, the teenagers all carrying bottles of Dasani, Poland Spring and Evian. These water bottles seem to stay glued to their sides, they seem to frequently open and take sips of water. These people seem to be dong their body a favor by consuming this water, but can these people really be putting themselves at risk for water intoxication?
Water intoxication may seem very strange and almost unbelievable but in rare cases it does happen, water poisoning occurs when a person consumes too much water in a short period of time without replenishing electrolytes (such as salt.) Electrolytes are very important in helping the cells and organs in the body to function properly and they are found in a person’s blood stream. When a person’s water intake is in excess, a condition called hypnotremia formulates, this condition causes the sodium in a person’s body to become severely diluted and the water that surrounds the outside of the cells rushes into the inside of the cells, which will then severely affect your brain, heart, and muscles. When this shift of water from outside of the cells into the inside of the cells occurs in the brain, the brain swells, and this swelling might cause death, paralysis, or brain damage. People with hypnotremia may also experience seizures, or fall into a coma.
Those at risk of water intoxication include
Infants – infants and children under 1 have a low body mass which enables them to easily consume large amounts of water, infants can become poisoned by water also if their formula is extremely diluted, because infants drank multiple bottles of formula daily, it is important that the formula is not diluted.
Endurance athletes (runners cyclists etc.) – are found to have low sodium concentration towards the finish of the event and they may sweat profusely, this sweat gives them the urge to replenish themselves, and they might do it improperly by consuming large quantities of water in a short period of time that contains no electrolytes, like those found in sport’s drinks.
Those who sustain exercise- these individuals exercise for a long period of time, and drank large amounts of water in a short period of time that contain no electrolytes, putting them at risk for water intoxication.
Those who work in high heat and humidity- these people tend to sweat much, loosing electrolytes and will replenish themselves the wrong ay by consuming a lot water that contains no electrolytes..
Those who take ecstasy- this drug is known to make individuals sweat, these individuals may drank large quantities of plain water (water with no electrolytes) in a short period of time to replenish themselves putting themselves at a great risk for water intoxication.
The Symptoms of Water Intoxication;
The symptoms of water intoxication are similar to the symptoms for dehydration
How Water Intoxication Is Treated
” In cases where water intoxication is mild, the person may be restricted from drinking water, in cases where the intoxication is severe treatment would consist of; Saline, to help restore electrolyte loss, diuretics, to increase urination and vasopressin.” (http://www.answers.com/topic/water-intoxication?cat=health)
How To Prevent Water Intoxication
Athletes should drink sports drinks that contain electrolytes as opposed to plain water.
Diarrhea and vomiting causes a person to loose a lot of electrolytes those people should be sure to replenish them.
Avoid drinking more than you seem to sweat.
Avoid drinking large quantities of water in a short period of time.
Don’t attempt to hydrate yourself in advance by drinking tons of water, instead drink small amounts of water overtime.
Athletes could try to consume foods high in sodium a few days before the event, of course avoid foods that contain high sodium if you have high blood pressure, or if your doctor has advised you to avoid salt, or to watch your salt intake.
If you are drinking plain water try to eat crackers to maintain your electrolyte balance.
Furthermore, “The DRI committee recommends for men and woman with normal diets and moderate environmental conditions that men need about 13 cups of fluid from beverages and drinking water and woman need- about 9 cups.” Consuming water in this fashion takes care of 80% of the day’s needs for water; the rest is fulfilled through the consumption of food. (p.268, Nutrition Concepts, and Controversies Tutor)
So yes, if you carry plenty of water around with you and drank it in large quantities in a short period of time, you might put yourself at risk for water intoxication which leads to hypnotremia, which might lead to death.