Dr. Sudhir Kumar, Senior Consultant Neurologist, Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad recently tweeted about the dangers of excess water that can lead to death and other serious health issues. When you drink more water than necessary, it can disrupt electrolyte balance and reduce sodium to dangerously low levels. This is called water intoxication and can cause symptoms such as confusion, nausea and vomiting in mild cases and coma, seizures and death in severe cases.
“Water is vital and essential for survival. However, ingesting excessive amounts of water, especially over a short period of time, can lead to serious health risks, including death,” Dr. Sudhir Kumar.
According to Dr. Kumar, while normal water needs are 2.5 to 3 liters per day, there is a misconception that drinking more water is good for your health.
“Some people may drink more water due to psychiatric illnesses. Athletes may overestimate fluid loss and drink excessive amounts of water,” the expert tweeted.
Too much water can upset the balance of sodium and water in the blood. Proper water intake is as important as eating well or getting good quality sleep,” says Shetty.
“Hydration is very important and not drinking water can lead to various complications. However, did you know that drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication. This occurs when salt and other electrolytes in your body gets watered down and your kidneys can’t flush out all the water in the urine,” Smitha Shetty, lifestyle nutritionist, told HT Digital.
“Too much water can upset the balance of sodium and water in the blood. Adequate water intake is as important as eating well or getting good quality sleep,” adds Shetty.
“Drinking excess water can cause bloating, polyurea, hyponatremia (thought to be the cause of Bruce Lee’s death), bloating, poor metabolism, etc. The proportion of water is not fixed, it varies according to the seasons, your physical activities and your body-mind constitution (Prakriti). So don’t get into statistics, just watch your urine. It should not be smelly or yellowish. Drink as much water as you need to keep it odorless and clear. It’s the right amount (amount) of water your body needs, not 1 glass more or 1 glass less,” Ayurveda expert Dr. Dixa Bhavsar said in her recent Instagram post on the amount of water. ideal water for good health.
How much water can a healthy person handle?
Elaborating on the ideal amount of water a person should drink, Dr. Kumar states that “healthy kidneys can handle 800-1000ml of water/hr. People with kidney, heart or liver disease can manage lesser amounts of water (more than 1-2 hours), normal kidneys cannot handle this.”
Consequence of excessive water consumption
According to Dr. Kumar, excessive water consumption leads to hyponatremia, ie low sodium levels in the blood. He adds that this leads to the passage of water into the brain cells resulting in brain swelling and that the symptoms depend on the level of sodium and the extent of brain swelling.
Water intoxication symptoms
– In mild cases, symptoms are lethargy, nausea and dizziness
– In mild cases, the symptoms are confusion, vomiting and restlessness.
– In severe cases, the symptoms are convulsions, coma and death in some cases.
What is the treatment for water intoxication?
Dr. Kumar says if you notice any symptoms, you need to see a doctor and get your sodium levels checked.
“Low sodium is corrected by limiting fluid intake and by saline injections. Rapid correction of low sodium should be avoided as it can lead to brain damage,” he adds.