About 60% of a human’s body constitutes water. We know how healthy it is and the problems lack of adequate water can cause. We often hear some people saying that on average, one must consume 8 glasses of water a day. Others say that one must drink water only when thirsty. These, of course, wary with the weather outside, the lifestyle you live or the activities you perform. In some extreme cases, overhydration can be very harmful.
Who is most at risk?
- High endurance sports athletes
- Elite Rowers
- Marathon Runners
- Ironman Triathletes
So when does over-hydration occur?
- Overhydration is a common problem among athletes who accidentally drink too much water after a run or a workout. To avoid chances of dehydration, they consume more than the necessary amount of water which in turn affects their performance.
- Hyponatremia a medical condition that causes an imbalance in sodium levels is another reason for overhydration. Water intoxication occurs when an excessive amount of water is consumed thereby flooding the cells. Sodium regulates the amount of water that goes in and out of cells. Too much water dilutes sodium levels and can affect the functioning of organs.
- Overhydration can also occur when the body retains water and fails to flush it out through the kidney.
- Some medicines also retain water to dangerous levels.
Symptoms of Overhydration:
- Brain fogs or disorientation
- Muscle spasms or cramps
How can over hydration be treated and prevented?
Overhydration can be caused due to multiple reasons. To treat it, it is important to first diagnose the overhydration and then chose one of the following treatment methods.
- Keeping a careful watch on your fluid intake
- consume diuretics to increase the amount of urine production
- If you are prescribed multiple medications, then find out it any one medicine could be a cause.
- If there is an underlying medical condition than treat it immediately
- Change your diet or take supplements to balance sodium intake
- Athletes can replace water with sports beverages which are packed with electrolytes
- If you are usually thirsty, then consult a doctor immediately as it could be a symptom of another medical condition.