Can You Drink Too Much Water?
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Staying hydrated is an integral part of being healthy. Dehydration, or not drinking enough water, can cause uncomfortable symptoms and lead to medical problems.
Drinking lots of water during the day can help avoid dehydration. But many people may wonder if drinking too much water can cause medical problems. Overhydration, or drinking too much water, is rarely a problem for healthy people. But there are some situations where it can be dangerous.
How much water should you drink daily?
Many individuals may remember the old recommendation of 8 glasses or about 2 liters of water per day. It is no longer recommended because most people get enough water from the foods and liquids they eat and drink throughout the day. The amount of water you drink to stay hydrated is affected by your:
When thinking about staying hydrated, it is essential to remember that some drinks have sugar, like juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks. While these drinks contain water and can contribute to your hydration, they may not be your healthiest option. Too much sugar will have adverse effects on your body. For example, drinking sugary beverages can increase your risk of diabetes. Better choices are:
What happens if you drink less water than you should?
Not drinking enough water is called dehydration. Mild dehydration can lead to several uncomfortable symptoms such as:
What happens if you drink more water than you should?
Drinking more water than you should is known as overhydration. For individuals with healthy kidneys, it is not a problem. Healthy kidneys can adjust how much water leaves the body as urine. It allows the body to keep the amount of water it needs and to get rid of the water it does not need. To develop overhydration, a healthy person would have to drink more than 6 gallons a day.
Nevertheless, some people may have severe consequences from overhydration. It may be the case if you have a medical condition that causes you to:
Can too much water be dangerous?
Drinking too much water could be dangerous in some circumstances. Hyponatremia is the most significant risk from overhydration (sodium in the blood is too low). Sodium is an electrolyte that is integral to your heart and brain function. Having low sodium will not only disrupt normal body function but can also cause severe swelling in the brain. When sodium drops slowly or does not go too far below normal levels, your body has time to adjust, so you may not have any symptoms. In more severe cases of hyponatremia, symptoms can include:
What kind of situations or activities put someone at risk of drinking too much water?
A few situations can put someone with healthy kidneys at risk of drinking too much water. It includes drinking too much water in a short time during extreme physical activity. Increasing your water intake regularly over an extended period can also lead to overhydration.
There are clinical cases of people who developed overhydration from drinking water to:
If people at risk of overhydration drink more water than their body needs, they can develop:
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