Doctors are constantly reminding us of how important it is to drink plenty of water. Not only is it healthy for you, but drinking a sufficient amount of water helps to keep your body well hydrated when spending time outdoors in the hot summer months.
What most don’t know though is that you can actually drink too much water, overhydrate and make yourself very ill.
Dr. Mattew McElroy, a sports medicine specialist and primary care doctor stated:
“Overhydration is something that first started coming onto the radar about 10-15 years ago.”
The problems with drinking too much water, and overhydrating, is that your sodium levels in your bloodstream are drastically diluted. Sodium is a critical element in proper muscle and brain functions.
When your sodium levels become diluted enough, you begin to drown in your own water, so to say. When this happens, the very manner in which your brain functions is completely altered, which in turn affects other major organs and areas of the body.
When sodium levels dip to a certain level, the condition is then referred to as hyponatremia. Basically, this condition is when the kidneys are so overwhelmed with the imbalance, that it becomes very difficult for them to excrete fluid. The known symptoms of hyponatremia can range from very mild to very life-threatening.
According to The Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of overhydration include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, drowsiness, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, and seizures.
Although overhydration is predominantly seen in those who exercise outdoors, such as endurance athletes and marathon runners, in intense heat for over two to three hours, anyone can fall victim to its effects if they overindulge in their fluid intake.
Beth Kitchin, assistant professor at the University of Alabam said:
“People should drink about four to six ounces of water every twenty minutes when performing an activity, whether it’s gardening or running a marathon.”
Like with anything else in life, when taken in excess water can be more harmful than good for the body. And in some cases, pose a definite threat to your life.