Water intoxication is rare, and it is very difficult to consume too much water by accident. However, it can happen — there have been numerous medical reports of death due to excessive water intake. When this happens to brain cells, it can be dangerous and even life threatening. This article describes the symptoms, causes, and effects of water intoxication. It also looks into how much water a person should drink each day. It is difficult to drink too much water by accident, but it can happen, usually as a result of overhydrating during sporting events or intense training.
Also known as water poisoning, water intoxication is a disruption of brain function caused by drinking too much water. Ultimately the swelling of brain cells will cause your central nervous system to malfunction. Without treatment, you can experience seizures, enter into a coma, and ultimately die. But if you drink too much water, you can dilute the levels of sodium in your body to dangerously low levels. Know the danger signals, and if you suspect that someone has an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help immediately. Do not wait for the person to have all the symptoms, and be aware that a person who has passed out can die.
How is overhydration diagnosed?
In healthy people, athletes are at the highest risk for overhydration. When the amount of sodium (salt) becomes too diluted, you develop hyponatremia. When the sodium levels in your body are greatly reduced, fluids move inside your cells, leading to inflammation. eco sober house price “Those with heart, kidney, or liver disease have an increased risk of hyperhydration,” Spano said. “In addition, it is more common in [people] consuming water only or very low sodium beverages while competing in prolonged endurance events.”
Children and adolescents may have lower requirements than adults. Both Spano and Detroyer agreed that, for the average person, dehydration is a greater concern than hyperhydration. “It totally varies by the person, activity level, environment, medications and more,” Spano said. There’s no set amount that’s broadly defined as dangerous for all people in all situations, both Spano and Detroyer confirmed. She also noted that hyperhydration may occur in eating disorder patients if they drink lots of water to artificially increase their weight. But you can also drink too much water — and, just like dehydration, overhydration can be deadly, too.
Research shows that teens and college-age young adults often engage in binge drinking and high-intensity drinking. Drinking such large quantities of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s ability to break down and clear alcohol from the bloodstream. This leads to rapid increases in BAC and significantly impairs brain and other bodily functions. It is dangerous to assume that an unconscious person will be fine by sleeping it off.
How much should I drink?
One potential danger of alcohol overdose is choking on one’s own vomit. Alcohol at very high levels can hinder signals in the brain that control automatic responses, such as the gag reflex. With no gag reflex, a person who drinks to the point of passing out is in danger of choking on their vomit and dying from a lack of oxygen (i.e., asphyxiation).
Compulsive water drinking, also called psychogenic polydipsia, can be a symptom of various mental health conditions. The symptoms of hyponatremia can be misinterpreted as those of dehydration. According to one report, a soldier who received an incorrect diagnosis of dehydration and heat stroke died from water intoxication as a result of rehydration efforts.
How long does it take to recover from overhydration?
The doctor will also perform a physical examination, and they may order blood and urine tests to check the level of sodium and other markers in your body. It’s also important to remember that water needs vary with sex, weather, activity level, and overall health. Common situations such as extreme heat, significant activity, and illness with fever may require more fluid intake than average. How do you know if you’re drinking the right amount of water for you? One simple way is to check the color of your urine, as INSIDER previously reported. Every cell in your body needs it in order to function, and when you don’t drink enough, you can end up dehydrated.
These drinks contain sugar and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which you lose in sweat. You may not recognize symptoms of overhydration in its early stages. However, urine is a good indicator of hydration status in a healthy person. Using https://sober-house.org/ alcohol with opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone and morphine, or illicit opioids, such as heroin, is also a very dangerous combination. Like alcohol, these drugs suppress areas in the brain that control vital functions such as breathing.
Drinking too many fluids can cause water toxicity by diluting your body’s sodium and other electrolytes, which may cause your cells to swell, including the cells in your brain. If left untreated, it may cause permanent brain damage and death. The body needs water to function correctly, but drinking too much too fast can have serious health consequences. The kidneys can only remove 0.8 to 1.0 liters of water per hour, and a very high water intake can upset the body’s electrolyte balance. Teenagers and young adults who drink may be at particular risk for alcohol overdose.
Don’t play doctor—cold showers, hot coffee, and walking do not reverse the effects of alcohol overdose and could actually make things worse. As blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increases, so does the effect of alcohol—as well as the risk of harm. Even small increases in BAC can decrease motor coordination, make a person feel sick, and cloud judgment. This can increase an individual’s risk of being injured from falls or car crashes, experiencing acts of violence, and engaging in unprotected or unintended sex. When BAC reaches high levels, blackouts (gaps in memory), loss of consciousness (passing out), and death can occur.
Celebrating at parties, cheering a favorite sports team, and enjoying get-togethers after work are common ways to relax or be with friends. For some people, these occasions may also include drinking—even binge or high-intensity drinking. To avoid hyponatremia, it is important not to outpace the kidneys by drinking more water than they can eliminate. Instances of water intoxication at these events have resulted in death. Endurance athletes can reduce the risk of water toxicity from overhydration by weighing themselves before and after a race. This helps determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish.
The right amount differs, depending on factors such as body weight, level of physical activity, the climate, and whether they are breastfeeding. It is most common among people with schizophrenia, but it can also arise in people with affective disorders, psychosis, and personality disorders. This can affect the brain stem and cause central nervous system dysfunction.
Too much water can cause dangerously low sodium levels
According to one case report, soldiers developed symptoms after consuming at least 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water per hour. If sodium levels fall below 135 millimoles per liter (mmol/l), doctors refer to the issue as hyponatremia. This can dilute the electrolytes, especially sodium, in the blood. The symptoms of water intoxication are general — they can include confusion, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. Some doctors recommend that the number of daily cups of water a child drinks should equal their age. If exercising longer than an hour, sports beverages are also an option.
- They may observe you for a time to see how much fluid you are taking in versus how much you release in urine or stool.
- Celebrating at parties, cheering a favorite sports team, and enjoying get-togethers after work are common ways to relax or be with friends.
- One simple way is to check the color of your urine, as INSIDER previously reported.
- To avoid water intoxication, some sources recommend drinking no more than 0.8 to 1.0 liters of water per hour.
- In 2004, The National Academy of Medicine recommended that women aged 19–30 consume around 2.7 liters per day and men of the same age around 3.7 liters per day.
Overhydration and water intoxication happen when a person drinks more water than their kidneys can get rid of via urine. There’s no official guideline for the amount of water you should drink. That’s because everyone’s personal fluid needs vary based on exercise, climate, health conditions, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, according to the Mayo Clinic. “An excess of total body water may result in cell swelling and hyponatremia, or low blood sodium,” Spano said.