Tag Archives: hyponatremia

Mile 2122: So Water Intoxication Is a Thing

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“You know you got the power
To make me weak inside.”
–Backstreet Boys, “Drowning”

Miles Last Week: 65.5
Total Miles: 2122

I think we’ve covered this before, but I drink a lot of water–like a lot. In the last couple of months, I’ve even upped it to about ten 24-ounce bottles a day during the week (less on the weekends) because that’s the max you can enter into MyFitnessPal in a single day. It seemed like a good number.

The only side effect I really noticed was that my increased consumption of ice water seemed to be making me feel a bit colder (of course, that could also be due to the sub-zero temperatures in my office at work), and I asked people on Facebook if it was possible to give yourself hypothermia from the inside out. The general consensus was “no, and you might be crazy” (the second part felt implied)–but I started to wonder, is it possible to drink too much water?

To the Interwebs!

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I’m sure you’ll be as excited as I was to discover that not only can you drink too much water, but it is TOTALLY POSSIBLE to kill yourself from it.

Basically, you can get water-wasted when you drink so much water that your blood becomes diluted, which can cause an electrolyte imbalance, which messes with your sodium levels, which can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which can send you into a coma or a grave.

Feeling a little bit cold doesn’t seem as bad anymore.

But wait! There’s good news–and bad news…

Good news: According to most of the articles I found (like this one and this one and this one), casualties are typically people in some sort of consumption contest and are purposely drinking tons of water in a short time, or they are marathoners/intense exercisers who drink too much too quickly for their bodies to replace electrolytes. There’s also torture, but we don’t talk about that.

So, you’re probably more likely actually drown than you are to die by diluted blood. I couldn’t find any actual numbers, but I’m assuming.

Bad news: Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule about how much water you’re supposed to have in a day. You just have to be careful and listen to your body, especially if you start to notice nausea, an altered mental state, vomiting, headaches, muscle weakness, etc. (according to those same articles)┬áif you’re drinking a lot of water.

Hydrate, but don’t overhydrate.

Hope you aren’t a hypochondriac…like me…

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