Recent events have lead to life threatening, even fatal, conditions involving a health complication known as hyponatremia; water intoxication. For these individuals, consuming water, in excess, may have been a solution to simple dehydration or may have been a risk for those who consumed excess water as a challenge by other individuals. Understanding the basis on which the body requires water consumption, the signs of water intoxication and the importance of electrolyte imbalance, will ensure a more healthy body without imposing health complications in the process, including brain function complications and, in rare cases, death.
Hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication, is simply the process by which an individual consumes more water than required, resulting in a dilution of the sodium concentration in the body. In addition to sodium concentration disturbance, excessive water consumption leads to a life threatening electrolyte imbalance. When electrolytes are not balanced, the tissues swell, kidneys malfunction and the water intoxication can lead to life threatening cardiovascular complications and even brain damage. So, what are the symptoms of water intoxication?
During an episode of hyponatremia, or water intoxication, the individual will experience symptoms, coincidentally, which appear very much like dehydration, without the component of excessive thirst. Symptoms of water intoxication may involve complaints of nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and the individual may even appear lethargic or experience seizure-like episodes.
To prevent water intoxication, or an imbalance of electrolytes, it is important to avoid excessive water consumption within a 24 hour period. For healthy adults, adequate water consumption is generally regulated and required at around three quarts of water per day. However, these three quarts of water should not be consumed in one sitting or within a few hours. Instead, individuals seeking to consume healthy levels of water should consume, at least, three quarts of water each day over a 24 hour period. In doing so, the body will be more equipped to process the water to the essential organ functions without complicating tissue, cardiovascular cycles and brain activity. Consuming healthy electrolyte empowered drinks, such as Gatorade, will also work to ensure proper body water content is maintained.
As with any process in which an individual works to maintain health, consuming water is equally important and most likely the most important consumption individuals can choose each day. However, when consuming water, it is important to monitor the levels of water consumption to ensure proper intake over the course of a 24 hour period.