Fatal Water Poisoning

Fatal Water Poisoning

Drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication and water poisoning, which can be fatal. Learn what this is all about and prevent water poisoning.

Drinking water is great. Even Japanese water therapy is good for you. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This  is true in case of water as well. Consumption of too much water in a short duration of time can lead to ‘water poisoning’. Water poisoning can be fatal. So it is important to understand what this is all about. If you are wondering how water could cause ‘poisoning’, this is how.

How does water poisoning occur?

Too much water can cause water poisoning, since excess water can cause an imbalance in the quantity of electrolytes in the body’s fluids. When there is loss of salts and water from our body (perspiration and urine), they need to be replenished. But if you drink too much water in one shot, the salt levels in the blood plasma go down. This then leads to a shift in the osmotic pressure. What does that mean in simple terms? There is a pressure on the cell walls, especially in the brain and central nervous system. If this pressure is sufficiently large, cell walls can actually break down. This is when the cells start dying and water poisoning occurs. This poisoning can also become fatal.

How much is too much water?

The amount of water that can lead to water poisoning varies from person to person. Generally, it is said that 3+ liters can cause water poisoning. It depends on a person’s physical fitness, the temperature and also the duration within which a large quantity of water is consumed.

Symptoms of water poisoning

-swelling of the brain

Who is likely to suffer from this poisoning?

Since athletes perspire a lot and lose both water and salt, they may be tempted to drink a lot of water in one go. But you must have noticed that normally, they consume sports drinks that have added electrolytes.

So keep this in mind when you are extremely thirsty, especially if you have been through an exhausting work-out routine.

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