Before I write about what is overhydration, a line or two on hydration. We all know that hydration is extremely essential for our health. Search on the Net and you will find hundreds of articles and tips on how to keep your body hydrated. Also, what’s to be done to maintain your body’s hydration level (especially in hot places).
If you do not hydrate yourself well, you fall prey to dehydration. And dehydration is something you must avoid. So, back to square one—we need to keep ourselves hydrated.
But what about overhydration? Many of you may not know be aware of this condition and its lethal effect on our body.
What is overhydration?
To answer what is overhydration, also called “water intoxication”, it is a physical condition that occurs when you drink more water than what your body actually requires in a day. I have met many people who just need to think of water. And he or she must drink water then and there. It proves dangerous for your health. Your daily water requirement depends on:
- medicines/pills taken in continuity due to some acute or chronic medical conditions
- weather conditions
- your height
- gender and age
- fitness & workout level
- cirrhosis of liver
- congestive heart failure
- SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone)
- problems related to kidneys
How much water is too much?
To maintain your hydration level, you need to drink 8 glasses of water per day. Now imagine, for example, if you are drinking 18 glasses of water per day?
Unimaginable! But yes, there are people who drink water more than they eat food. This unnecessary extra 10 glasses (that may not be required) can prove fatal.
What is overhydration symptoms/overhydration signs?
What is overhydration symptoms/overhydration signs can be understood from the following:
- Common flu
- Disorientation and Confusion—major symptom that needs to be catered to ASAP
- Vomiting and nausea
- Passing colorless urine—normal urine should be pale yellow
- Frequent urination
An overhydrated person suffers from hyponatremia, where the level of sodium in the blood falls at an alarming low! It leads to more severe symptoms like:
- Cardiopulmonary arrest
- Muscular cramps, spasms or weakness
- Difficulty in breathing
What is overhydration treatment?
When the symptoms show up in a person, call a physician immediately. Get his confirmation on whether these are overhydration symptoms. Once confirmed, treatment must start immediately without wasting a minute. It would include:
- Reducing the symptoms
- Catering to the medical conditions (if) underlying
- Use of diuretics
- Cutting down on water intake
Obviously, a physician knows better how to handle such a patient.
What is overhydration is indeed a vast topic but know that it can even cause death! So, be on your guard and do not drink excess water. Or do not drink water unnecessarily even when you are not thirsty. Also, keep a check on the color of the urine—it can be the first indication.