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In short, yes. Drinking too much water is possible, and although rare, it can be potentially life-threatening. But the condition is more complicated than overconsumption of water. In the simplest terms, hyponatremia, or water intoxication, is an electrolyte imbalance. Sodium in the blood is extremely important, and when the blood is diluted with excessive water, the sodium dips dangerously low. Consequently, an excess of water builds up in the bloodstream.
This excess water has nowhere to go, so it leaves the blood and moves into the cells. The result is swelling in the cells, which is extremely dangerous in the brain. Excessive water consumption is one cause, although hyponatremia caused by overconsumption alone is fairly uncommon. For instance, ina California woman succumbed to water intoxication after participating in a radio-station sponsored water-drinking contest. She consumed roughly 6 liters of water over a three-hour period. For this reason, the risk for hyponatremia is greater for marathon runners and triathletes.
At the same time, electrolytes are being lost through sweat.
Then, when an athlete drinks a large amount of water during or following a competition, that athlete is more likely to develop a net water gain. Thus, the balance of electrolytes and water in the bloodstream falls out of line. In fact, a study of Boston Marathon runners, found that 13 percent were suffering from hyponatremia, and other studies have found that up to one-third of endurance athletes may be subject to hyponatremia. In severe cases, hyponatremia can be life-threatening. In the Boston Marathon study, for instance, just 6 athletes were experiencing critical hyponatremia.
Outside of endurance sports and overconsumption, the electrolyte imbalance can be caused by common risk factors for dehydration, like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, kidney and heart diseases, and some medications.
In these cases, hyponatremia can be caused when fluids are replaced more quickly than electrolytes. The best method for preventing hyponatremia in these cases is drinking to thirst, or drinking roughly the same amount of fluids that are lost through sweat. DripDrop is a medical hydration product that contains a balanced ratio of electrolytes. It is formulated to more closely match the fluids that are lost by sweating, diarrhea or vomiting. Cold Flavors. Hot Flavors. All Flavors. Trial Packs.
Water Bottle. Store Locator. How it Works. ORS Research. Founding Story. Our Mission. Mission Timeline. No items in your cart. Medical Conditions. Water is essential for life. The human body is made up of more than 60 percent water, and nearly 75 percent of the brain is comprised of H But is it possible to drink too much water?
What Is Hyponatremia?
Common Causes of Water Intoxication Excessive water consumption is one cause, although hyponatremia caused by overconsumption alone is fairly uncommon. Exercise-associated hyponatremia. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology2 1 ,How much water can cause water poisoning
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Hyponatremia caused by excessive intake of water as a form of child abuse