It’s more common than you think.
Most people, especially those that exercise regularly, are concerned with drinking big amounts of water, but what happens if you drink too much?
Overhydration can lead to water intoxication. This occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body becomes too diluted. Hyponatremia is a condition in which sodium (salt) levels become dangerously low.
Overhydration is an imbalance of fluids. It happens when your body takes in or holds on to more fluid than your kidneys can remove.
A good and easy way to find out if you are overhydrated is looking at your urine. Pale yellow urine that looks like lemonade is a good goal. Darker urine means you need more water. Colorless urine means you are overhydrated.
Some conditions and medicines cause overhydration by making your body hold on to more fluid. These include:
- congestive heart failure (CHF)
- liver disease
- kidney problems
- syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- uncontrolled diabetes
In its early stages, overhydration shows recognizable symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, or disorientation.
How you’re treated for overhydration depends on how severe your symptoms are and what caused the condition. Treatments may include:
- cutting back on your fluid intake
- taking diuretics to increase the amount of urine you produce
- treating the condition that caused the overhydration
- stopping any medications causing the problem
- replacing sodium in severe cases
How can you prevent overhydration?
While exercising drink 2 to 4 cups of fluid per hour. If you spend more than an hour working out, sports beverages are your friends. These drinks contain sugar, along with electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which you lose in sweat. Let thirst also guide you when exercising. If you’re thirsty, drink more.