Water is essential for our life, it is an important liquid for our survival. Water is a substance that only provides benefits to our body because it is sugar-free and calorie-free so it provides a range of benefits to our body. We all need water to function properly. Water is a key factor to prevent dehydration of our body. Dehydration occurs when our body doesn’t have enough water, but sometimes our body has more water than it retains then overhydration occurs. Overhydration can lead to water toxicity which is also known as water poisoning.
Overhydration occurs in two ways: 1) By drinking too much water and 2) if kidneys retain too much water.
Problems Occur After Having Too Much Water
When a man drinks too much water he may experience water poisoning, intoxication, or disruption of brain function. These complications occur when there is too much water in the cells. When the cells of the brain swell it causes pressure in the brain. In these situations, a man experiences headaches, drowsiness and confusion. In this pressure increases it may cause hypertension and Bradycardia ( Low heart rate).
Causes & Complications Of Overhydration
Overhydration occurs in the body due to an imbalance of sodium ions (salts) in the human body. When the amount of salt becomes diluted it develops Hyponatremia. The balance of sodium and water balance is very important for the proper functioning of the cells. When this ratio is disturbed humans experience the disease of Hyponatremia. On the dilution of sodium content cells draw more water which results in the swelling of cells. It leads to the bursting of cells in extreme cases. These complications further lead to heart failure and stroke
Athletes who run marathons have a high risk of Hyponatremia because they drink a large amount of water. A large amount of water gets retained after losing a high amount of sodium in perspiration (the process of sweating). Patients with water intoxication suffer from drowsiness, appetite, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
Recommended Amount Of Water Intake
We all know that everyone should take 8 glasses of water every day, but the water we need varies.
- Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that men should take a total of 13 cups (about 3 litres) of fluid each day.
- For women, they recommend 9 cups ( a litre over 2 litres) of fluid each day. For pregnant women, 10 cups of water should take daily. Breastfeeding women need about 12 cups of water every day.
- In general children and teens should take about 6-8 cups of water a day. During play or exercise, they need to take 2 cups of water over a period of time.
- According to our weight and physical activity, we should calculate our daily water intake as given below:
Water to drink daily=Weight of a human (in Kg) x 0.033
Link Between Overhydration & Blood Pressure
Overhydration and less water intake both influences blood pressure. Excessive water intake is beneficial for maintaining kidney stones but it is harmful to heart health. Water amount increases in the blood due to excessive intake of water. Hence increasing the excessive amounts of water in the blood dilute the electrolytes present in the blood including sodium. The role of electrolytes is to maintain the level of fluid and balance the chemicals like acids and bases in the body. Sodium also plays an important role in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
When the level of sodium in the blood decline below 135mmol/L, hyponatremia occurs. This hyponatremia occurs due to the swelling of cells because water enters into the cells of the body. Swelling cell interrupts blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular issues like arterial stiffness and heart failure along with increasing the risk of comma and seizures.
The best way to reduce overhydration is to avoid drinking too much water. Consume only the required amount. Water is an important substance for the proper functioning of the body. However excess water can increase the fatal condition. To avoid these complications a human should take water according to the calculation of water intake.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is for information purposes only.