Since time immemorial we have been taught and urged to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Well, for some people, the 8 glasses of water can be a challenge; I have heard some say if the 8 glasses won’t be as hard if it’s lemonade or fruit juice. Water, for many people, is simply not delicious! To the health conscious, however, the 8 glasses of water is not hard to consume. They know the good that the 8 glasses of water can do to the body, and so they are willing to drink the 8 glasses, or even more.
But here’s a twist: drinking too much water can be very harmful to the body! This is especially true when a person is doing strenuous outdoor activities such as running, hiking, biking, trekking, and mountain climbing. This can also be true to people who work under the scorching heat of the sun like the gardeners, road maintenance workers, farmers, construction workers, and many others.
What normally happens is that people who are exposed to such high temperatures sweat so much, and they are always thirsty. The natural thing to do when thirsty is to drink water.
Now here’s the warning: drinking too much water can cause water intoxication which can also lead to Hyponatremia.
Water intoxication is not a good thing. When a person drinks too much water, the water is retained in the body. What happens next is that the excess water floods the organs and the body cells.
Hyponatremia is a consequence or result of excessive water in the body. What comes in must come out, right? So the excess water will be flushed out of the body, and when it is flushed out, something goes with it – sodium. It is very important to remember that sodium is an essential electrolyte in the body that helps in the function of the nerve cells. So when sodium is flushed out of the body through frequent urination, the normal recourse of the body when there’s too much water in the system, the body’s health is compromised. With less sodium, the nerve cells will not be able to function properly.
So how will you know is someone is suffering from water intoxication? The three most common symptoms of water intoxification or hyponatremia are as follows: 1) seizures, 2) coma, and 3) death.
The key therefore is not to drink water excessively. Remember that in order to properly hydrate the body, you need to replace water and the electrolytes to replenish sodium.
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