In general, a healthy adult under normal circumstances requires- to drink three to four liters of water per day. Which also includes water in food and other drinks. For all the major body functions. Water plays a vital role. But if we are drinking too much water it is not considered good for our health. Drinking too much water- can lead to water intoxication and may cause health problems in the long run.
Drinking an optimum quantity of water helps in normal body functions, regulating body temperature, flushing out waste substances, and preventing constipation.
Why drinking too much water is not good for health?
We are well aware that water is excreted mainly through the urinary system, It is filtered from the bloodstream by the kidneys. Our kidneys have the capacity to filter water from 800 ml. to 1000 ml. per hour. On drinking too much water it can not get filtered out and gets accumulated in our body cells. This results in the swelling of body cells. Body cells are surrounded by a balanced solution of sodium and water. Drinking too much water results in a disturbed balance between water and sodium. Leading to depletion of sodium levels- causing hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a condition in which sodium levels in the body become dangerously low. Hyponatremia is the main cause of concern for drinking too much water. Acute hyponatremia can lead to severe health conditions like- cerebral edema, brain disease, cardiopulmonary arrest, seizure, coma, and even death in extreme cases.
What happens to your body when you drink too much water?
Drinking too much water, then your body’s requirements- can lead to overhydration. During overhydration- water- which your kidneys are unable to excrete gets accumulated in our cells of the body. Resulting in swelling of body cells. Our body’s flexible tissues can handle swelled body cells up to some extent. But in the brain being surrounded by the skull, the pressure starts building in the head. In the early stage, it may cause heaviness, confusion, or drowsiness. But if the pressure continues to build, it can lead to a risk of brain damage, coma, and death.
What can cause- overhydration. And what are its effects on health?
Overhydration can be caused due to following reasons:-
Increased water intake:- When you drink too much water then your body is capable to excrete. It leads to overhydration. There are certain health conditions and medicines that can increase water intake, Like:-
- Antipsychotic drugs
- M.D.M.A. (3,4- methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) also known as ecstasy.
Retaining more water:- Due to certain health conditions, the kidneys are unable to excrete the required quantity of water from the body. Which results in the retainment of more water in the body. Following are the few health conditions that can lead to the retention of water in our body.
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Syndrome of inappropriate diuretic hormone
Both of the above types can lead to overhydration- leading to hyponatremia.
How much water is too much in a day?
The water intake quantity requirements vary from person to person. It depends upon- age, sex, activity level, and health conditions. There is no such formula for optimum water intake. However, the Institute of Medicine has suggested guidelines to optimum water intake. They suggested that a healthy adult should drink 78-100 ounces (about 9-13 cups) of fluids per day on average. More than 100 ounces per day can be considered too much to drink on average in normal conditions.
What are the signs and symptoms of drinking too much water?
How can one be able to judge that too much water is being consumed- which is not good for health. One of the simple indicators can be by watching the color of the urine.
- Colorless less urine means you are overhydrated.
- Dark yellow color urine is an indicator, that body needs hydration (more water).
- Lemonade-colored urine indicates- optimum hydration levels.
During the early stages of drinking too much water, symptoms are unrecognizable. But as we continue to drink too much water following symptoms may appear:-
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in a mental state like- confusion or disorientation.
Overhydration, if remain untreated may lead to low levels of sodium in the blood( hyponatremia). Which can cause severe symptoms like-
- Weakness in muscles, cramps, or spasms
However severe water intoxication is rare. Its chances with persons, suffering from kidney dysfunction can be more.
How overhydration can be treated?
Overhydration (too much water) in the body is treated under medical supervision, as per the symptoms and the health condition that is causing overhydration. Some of the treatments can be:-
- Reducing fluid intake.
- Taking a diuretic to enhance the amount of urine.
- Treating the health condition that is responsible for overhydration.
- Replacing medicine causing overhydration.
- Optimizing sodium levels through medications or diet.
Thus water is a main source of life. It must be consumed in an optimum quantity, to quench our thrust and to perform various body functions normally.
Wishing all to be in a healthy state. For treatment, please consult your healthcare advisor.
For awareness purpose only.
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40+ Years of experience in the healthcare industry. Modern medicine and Ayurveda