Drinking An Excess Amount Of Water Kills
In January 2007, a 28-year old woman in California died from drinking an excess amount of water. She found dead after competing in a competition entitled “Hold your Wee for a Wii.” The contestants had to drink more water in less time without urinating.
After investigating the dead body of that women, it is estimated that the woman died drank approximately 3.78 liters of water during the contest. Promoters laughed at them when she and other contestants complained of discomfort and showed visible signs of distress. They were even heckled.
According to preliminary autopsy reports, she apparently died from drinking too much water too quickly, resulting in a condition called “water intoxication”. Basically, water intoxication occurs when a person drinks so much water that the other nutrients in the body become diluted. And this will lead the body to not do any of its works.
This tragic story will help you know the importance of understanding why drinking an excess amount of water is dangerous to health. Electrolytes are salt ions that cells use to move fluids and nerve messages into the cells and throughout the body. Electrolytes are the major elements in the body without which the body cannot function. The water intoxication causes an electrolyte imbalance. This affects the concentrations of the sodium ion. This will lead to a condition called “hyponatremia”.
It is extreme hyponatremia in cases of water intoxication. The extremes of this can ultimately cause coma and death. If it’s known early, treatment with IV fluids containing electrolytes will help you in a complete recovery. But if it’s untreated, hyponatremia will lead to death. Water intoxication is basically one form of hyponatremia and is similar to alcohol intoxication. The condition of water intoxication can also be caused due to excess sweating, severe burns, prolonged dehydration, and certain liver and kidney problems, among other diseases and conditions.
When a person dies from hyponatremia as a result of water intoxication, the initiating factor is a severe sodium imbalance. This will cause massive cell damage in the body. Sodium is a positively charged ion which circulates the fluids outside of cells to the body. Sodium helps regulate blood pressure and maintain the signals that let muscles operate properly. The cells actively maintain a precise sodium concentration in the body. There are more electrolytes inside the cell whereas more water outside the cell. The movement of water by the cells keeps the sodium levels healthy. And the movement of electrolytes into and out of the cell leads to either dilute or increase sodium levels in body fluids. But what happens when someone drinks a huge amount of water that doesn’t contain any added electrolytes in a short period of time? The cellular maintenance system can’t handle the level of sodium dilution that occurs.
The result is that cells desperately try to increase the sodium concentration in body fluids by taking in tremendous amounts of water. Some cells can swell a great deal, but others cannot. Brain cells are constrained by the skull. They can end up bursting with the pressure of the water they are taking in.
The exact amount of water intake that can lead to water intoxication is unknown and varies with each individual. Symptoms of water intoxication actually look a lot like the symptoms of alcohol intoxication. The symptoms include nausea, altered mental state, and vomiting. Other added symptoms are headaches, muscle weakness, and convulsions. In severe cases of water intoxication, coma and death result quickly of brain swelling. This is one of a rare condition in normal people. While considering a distance athletics, this is a known risk and is often avoided by drinking sports drinks instead of water during training and events. Because these sports drinks contain electrolytes along with fluids.
It is commonly said that drinking more water and keeping the body hydrated will help maintain good health. But keep in mind that drinking an excess amount of water than the amount recommended for your body will end up in death. Drinking several glasses of water will unnecessarily strain your body and put you at risk. This will lead to two major problems.
- It will increase your total blood volume. Needlessly increasing your blood volume on a regular basis puts an unnecessary burden on your heart and blood vessels.
- Drinking excess water makes your kidneys to work overtime to filter excess water out of your circulatory system. Your kidneys are not a pair of plumbing pipes where flushing more water through your kidneys will clean them. Rather, the filtration system that exists in your kidneys is composed in part of a series of specialized capillary beds called “glomeruli”. Your glomeruli can get damaged by unnecessary using it more.
So, maintain the limits to drink recommended amount of water for your body. This will help you to avoid drinking an excess amount of water within a short period of time. And as said, this will certainly lead to death.
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