How Can Drinking Water Be Dangerous? Find the Answer Here

You’ve heard zillion times how water is essential for your body. It makes up about 66 percent of the human body, runs through the blood, inhabits the cells, and lurks in the spaces between.

We’ve long been told drinking plenty of water helps our body regulate body temperature, prevent constipation, boost concentration, keep headaches at bay, flush waste products out of the body, and perform many other important functions.

At every moment water escapes the body through sweat, urination, defecation or exhaled breath, among other routes. That’s where you rehydrate your body by drinking water.

But too much of anything can never be good, even of a good thing. Rehydration can be overdone. There is such a thing as a fatal water overdose.

In rare cases, drinking an extreme amount in a short time can be dangerous. It can cause the level of salt, or sodium, in your blood to drop too low. That's a condition called hyponatremia. It's very serious, and can be fatal. You may hear it called water intoxication.

The symptoms of hyponatremia in the early stages may not be recognized. It looks a lot like the symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion. You might be hot, have a headache, and just feel crummy. Other early symptoms can include:

  • diarrhea,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting, and
  • changes in mental state such as confusion or disorientation.

If you don't get help right away, the condition can quickly lead to swelling in the brain, seizures, and coma.

When you drink liters and liters of water at once, more than your kidneys can pee out, there’s a big chance you’ll get hyponatremia, because your kidneys can only expel about half a liter at most an hour.

But if you drink water here and there when you exercise or when you're hot during the day, you’ll be fine. You will run into problems when drinking way too much too fast. Experts say drink until you don't feel thirsty, then stop. Make sure you don't drink way more than you sweat out.


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