Have you ever wondered why water is most commonly termed as life? This is because it is one of the most important nutrients for human existence and is involved in almost all the metabolic processes. The recommended consumption amount is around 2.5-3.0 litres water or approx. 8-10 ounce of glasses a day. Dr Deepti Tejas – Head of Department, Healthcare – Reset, lists out some of the signs of overhydration and why over-hydration is bad for the body and health on many levels:
o Frequent urination
o Frequent headaches- as over hydration swells up the brain cells leading to pressure against the skull.
o Swelling of lips, feet, hands
o Nausea, vomiting, cramps, fatigued, in serious prolonged intake leading to coma.
Overhydration may lead to certain complications and affect overall bodily functions. Some common ailments or side effects of overhydration are listed below.
1. Water Poisoning
Water intoxication, which means drinking excess amount of water may lead to electrolyte imbalance i.e. hyponatremia (low sodium). Salt in cells plays many important functions and dilution of the salt may lead to swelling. In severe cases, water clogging may involve brain cells affecting overall functioning.
2. Diarrhoea and Vomiting
Dehydration and overhydration are two sides of the same coin and have almost similar symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache etc. These symptoms attribute to the retention of water in the body diluting sodium and potassium the key electrolytes and flushing them off the system. This imbalance leads to vomiting, diarrhoea as kidneys are unable to handle such a large amount of water and may need to be corrected by intravenous electrolyte supply.
3. Over burdens your heart
Drinking too much water leads to the dilution of salt in the cells that may lead water getting locked in the cells making them swell or expand. It is a rare condition. This condition may have mild to severe effects on health and can become life-threatening if unattended. Cells all over the body expand and put pressure on the heart to pump blood. Due to hyponatremia blood pressure falls further affecting the pumping capacity.
4. May Deplete Potassium Levels
Potassium is one of the electrolyte minerals. It plays a critical role in ion exchange in and out of the cell. Thus initiating nervous cells to electrically control functions such as muscle contraction, relaxation etc. Overhydration creates an imbalance in electrolytes. Excess water gets into the cell diluting the electrolytes such as sodium and potassium thus flushing them off from body leading to cramps, swelling of cells.