Over-hydration- A legitimate Concern?
Everything in Moderation
Want to naturally lose weight? Help energize your muscles? Make your skin look healthy? Help your kidneys function better? Help maintain normal bowel function? The answer to all these questions has always been- drink more water. For years, we’ve been told that we need to drink, at least, the mythical 8 glasses of water each day. But, this 8-glasses-of-water-a-day myth is nothing more than a recommendation, it seems. Beyond any doubt, drinking water has many health benefits that go way beyond hydration. Nonetheless, like most things in life; too much of a anything isn't good. Over-hydration can be just as dangerous as being dehydrated.
Since a large percentage (almost 70%) of your body is made of water, getting the right fluid-balance between water intake and water loss is extremely vital. In response to dehydration or over-hydration, certain levels of electrolytes (important salts, sodium and potassium in the body), can grow out of balance. Water levels in the body play a major role in regulating electrolyte levels. Thus, acknowledging the causes and symptoms of this imbalance, can help the body dodge any serious health issues, and bring the fluid levels back into balance.
Water-logged- The Dangers
Dehydration takes place when the body uses or loses more fluid than it takes in. As a result, the body doesn’t have an adequate amount of fluid to function properly. Dehydration can also occur as a result of vomiting, diarrhea, diuretics, excessive heat, excessive sweating, or fever. Over-hydration, on the other hand, is a condition in which the body contains too much water. Even though it can occur from drinking excess amount of water, this isn’t usually the case if the rest of the body is functioning properly. Patients with heart conditions, kidney failure, or liver disease are more prone to becoming over-hydrated. In an effort to regulate the amount of salt in their diet, it may be necessary for patients with these health issues to monitor the intake of water.
The Symptoms of Over-hydration
Learn to recognize the signs of over-hydration. There are no specific symptoms of hyponatremia (electrolyte imbalance), which might distinguish overhydration from dehydration. In general, symptoms include: nausea, fatigue, irritability, restlessness and malaise. Vomiting and impaired mental functioning are often symptoms as well.
To Keep in Mind
Steps to avoid over-hydration include:
- Avoid performing any heavy physical exertion on an empty stomach.
- Stop your activity and relax, if you feel a headache or a type of malaise (symptoms of over hydration) set in.
- Give your body the potassium it needs, eat a banana before working out.
- Drink an electrolyte drink in addition to drinking water, particularly when working out in hot conditions for a long period of time.
- Drink small amounts of fluids at regular intervals.
Mild over-hydration, also called water intoxication, is counteracted by drinking less than a quart of water a day for a period of time. Left untreated, water intoxication can cause seizures, coma or death, although these outcomes are considered pretty rare. So, be careful and take steps to hydrate yourself properly.