What is water intoxication?
Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, hyperhydration, hyperactivity, or water toxemia, can be a potentially harmful disorder in the brain’s function that results when normal electrolyte balance in the body is suppressed without safe limits by overdrinking. Drinking excessive water also increases the amount of fluid in the blood. This can reduce electrolytes, especially sodium, in the blood.
When sodium levels fall below 135 millimoles per liter (mmol / l), doctors refer to the condition as hyponatremia. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance inside and outside the cells. When sodium levels drop due to excessive water use, the fluid flows from the outside to the inside of the cells, causing inflammation.
Symptoms of water intoxication usually begin to appear after consuming more than 3 to 4 waters in a few hours.
Possible symptoms include:
-Constipation, rash, or weakness in your muscles
-Nausea or vomiting
-Drowsiness and fatigue
-In severe cases, water intoxication can also cause fainting or loss of consciousness. If a person does not get treatment, drinking water can be dangerous.
Water intoxication is not quite common, and it is very difficult to use too much water by accident. However, it is possible – there have been many reports of deaths due to excessive water use.
Water intoxication often affects people who participate in sports events or endurance training, or people with a variety of mental health conditions.
a) Sports events
Water intoxication is very common among endurance athletes. It is possible if a person drinks too much water without properly calculating the electrolyte loss.
For this reason, hyponatremia usually occurs during major sports events.
As the authors of one study report, of the 488 participants in the 2002 Boston Marathon, 13% had symptoms of hyponatremia, and 0.06% had severe hyponatremia, with sodium levels below 120 mmol / l.
Intoxication conditions at these events have led to death. Another case involved a runner who fell after a long race.
Because of an improper rehydration, his sodium levels fell below 130 mmol / l. The athlete then developed fluid in the brain, known as hydrocephalus, and a hernia in his brain, which caused him to die.
b) Military training
Another medical report Trust Source described 17 soldiers who developed hyponatremia after drinking too much water during training. Their blood pressure was 115-130 mmol / l, and the normal range was 135-145 mmol / l.
According to a Trust Source report, three soldiers died from hyponatremia and cerebral edema. This death is associated with drinking more than 5 liters of water in just a few hours.
Symptoms of hyponatremia can be misinterpreted as physical exhaustion. According to a report by Trust Source, a soldier who received an incorrect diagnosis of dehydration and burns has died from dehydration as a result of efforts to rehydrate the body.
c) Mental health conditions
Compulsive drinking water, also called psychogenic polydipsiaTrusted Source, can be a symptom of a variety of mental health conditions.
It is most common in people with schizophrenia, but can also occur in people with dementia, mental illness and personality disorders.
What Is Hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia (low blood sodium) is a condition that means you do not have enough sodium in your blood. You need sodium in your blood to control the amount of water in your body’s cells.
It may be due to certain medical conditions, other medications you may be taking, or if you are taking a lot of water.
Because of the low sodium, the amount of water in your body increases and causes your cells to swell. This can lead to many problems. Some are mild, but others are serious and life-threatening.
How low is it too low? Your sodium level is normal at 135 to 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq / L). If it is below 135 mEq / L, it is hyponatremia. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your level is too low.
You may have no symptoms if your hyponatremia is very mild. Symptoms often appear when your sodium level suddenly rises or falls.
Symptoms of hyponatremia can include:
Nausea with vomiting
Headache or confusion
Cramps or muscle spasms
Anger and insecurity
Hyponatremia Risk Factors
Since older adults are more likely to take certain medications or develop chronic illnesses, they are more likely to develop hyponatremia. However, in any given year, you may be able to obtain it if you have certain conditions, including:
Secretory antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)