Water is the elixir of life. We wouldn’t have evolved if it hadn’t been for it. That’s for sure.
And every single cell in your body needs water to function properly.
That’s why doctors all over the world will tell you that to continue having a healthy life you need to drink a few liters of water every day.
But what happens when you drink too much of it?
Well, you develop something called “water intoxication” or “water poisoning”. And this is a life-threatening condition, which severely affects your brain.
Here’s a bit of info on what exactly happens when you become water intoxicated, which I’ve taken from the Journal of Case Reports in Nephrology and Urology:
“Water intoxication is a life-threatening disorder accompanied by brain function impairment due to severe dilutional hyponatremia. We treated a 22-year-old man without psychotic illness who had been put in a detention facility.
He drank 6 liters of water over a 3-hour period at the facility as a game’s penalty, and he showed progressive psychiatric and neurological signs including restlessness, peculiar behavior and convulsions.
On his admission, 15 hours after the discontinuation of the water drinking, he was in a coma, showing intermittent convulsions and remarkable hyponatremia (120 mmol/l).”
But what is hyponatremia?
You see, having too much water into your body can actually “thin out” the amount of electrolytes in your body. And one such electrolyte is sodium.
Sodium is great for your body. Call it a cell stabilizer if you will. Because it helps keep in check the right amount of fluids in and out of your cells.
When sodium falls below its normal level, fluid from outside of your cell begins to break into the cells around and swell them up. And when your brain cells are the ones being affected by this, you risk to develop one fatal condition.
Hyponatremia happens when your sodium levels plummet all the way down to 135 mmol/L.
When your brain cells are flooded by too much water, you risk developing an edema. This is a term for brain swelling – which gets squished inside your skull.
And increases the pressure.
Symptoms of Drinking Too Much Water
- state of confusion
- high blood pressure
- double or impaired vision
- having trouble breathing
- muscle weakness
- even coma
So if you’re an athlete or just love doing sports, be careful not to over-hydrate yourself.
The Moment of Truth: How Much Is Too Much?
You risk developing hyponatremia when you drink 3-4 liters of water in a very short period of time.
What you need to remember is that your kidneys are only able to flush out one liter of water/hour. That’s around 27-33 ounces.
So what do you think about the topic?
Were you aware of the dangers of drinking too much of it?
I’m looking forward to reading your replies, so please hit LIKE and SHARE.
To your health.
- Yamashiro M, Hasegawa H, Matsuda A, et al. A Case of Water Intoxication with Prolonged Hyponatremia Caused by Excessive Water Drinking and Secondary SIADH. Case Reports in Nephrology and Urology. 2013;3(2):147-152. doi:10.1159/000357667.
- Frizzell RT, Lang GH, Lowance DC, Lathan SR. JAMA. Hyponatremia and ultramarathon running. 1986 Feb 14;255(6):772-4.
- Joo MA, Kim EY. Hyponatremia caused by excessive intake of water as a form of child abuse. Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2013;18(2):95-98. doi:10.6065/apem.2013.18.2.95.
- Verbalis JG1, Goldsmith SR, Greenberg A, Schrier RW, Sterns RH. Hyponatremia treatment guidelines 2007: expert panel recommendations. Am J Med. 2007 Nov;120(11 Suppl 1):S1-21.