Health risk: Why drinking too much water can be harmful to health

Health risk: Why drinking too much water can be harmful to health

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How unhealthy can it be if you drink too much?

Everyone knows that drinking a lot is especially important in summer and when exercising. Unfortunately, that you can also drink too much. "The dose makes the poison," Paracelsus emphasized - and not even water, the origin of all life, is an exception.

Drink enough!

Water is the most important substance. Two thirds of our planet is covered by it. Humans themselves consist of around 70 percent water. And while we can get by without solid food for over a month, we survive just a few days without drinking. From which amount it is too much of a good thing, we would like to clarify below.

How much is enough?

First of all, getting an overdose of water is not that easy. The human organism can utilize and excrete almost a liter of it per hour. With a regular supply throughout the day, very large quantities can be easily absorbed. The upper limit is ten liters a day, according to the German Nutrition Society.

Detect water poisoning

The easiest way to control your fluid intake is to feel thirsty. However, if you drink a lot of water regardless of your body feeling, for example because you want to combat hunger during a diet or undertake great physical exertion, this can lead to water poisoning or hyponatremia.

This can result in headaches, dizziness and nausea, as well as convulsions or coma in severe cases. This is due to the kidneys, which simply cannot process so much fluid. As a result, the salt balance gets mixed up and the body is flooded. Other warning signs of too much fluid include: increased sweating, shortness of breath, fatigue, difficulty breathing and poor concentration.

What exactly happens with hyponatremia?

Unnecessarily much water rinses out important nutrients and minerals. The worst thing about it is that the first symptoms often result from a lack of fluids and as a result drink even more. This causes the cells to float and the formation of edema is promoted. These can be extremely critical, especially in the brain, because the expansion of the brain is only possible to a limited extent due to the skull cap.

In the case of hyponatremia, those affected must be treated professionally immediately in order to balance the salt balance again. Otherwise, water poisoning can even be fatal. In particular, if you suffer from kidney or liver diseases, you should discuss your drinking behavior with your doctor. But even athletes should not overdo drinking and only drink enough water to make up for the sweat-out amount.

Water poisoning is a form of electrolyte imbalance. It usually occurs when too much fluid is added in too short a time during physical exertion. The relationship between body water and salinity is imbalanced. The concentration of salt ions in the blood drops and the blood becomes too thin. This allows water to flow freely into the cells and float them up. The clinical picture is particularly common in marathon runners, since several liters of water are often drunk there within a few hours.

"Urine sample"

If you are not doing extreme sports, you can easily read the right amount of water from the color of your urine. If it is too dark, drink too little. If it is almost transparent, drink too much. The color should be reminiscent of apple juice diluted 4 to 1 with water. (FS)

Author and source information

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