Water is an essential ingredient that your body needs in order to survive. Everyone knows of the “8 glasses of water a day” rule, and we are continuously told that if we want to avoid dehydration, we need to drink a lot of water. But drinking too much water can cause more of a problem than dehydration does, so in your attempt to fix a problem, you create another just as bad.
Factors to be considered when drinking water
Many factors need to be considered when calculating your daily water intake. Things such as age, gender, height, fitness level and even the weather need to be taken into account when deciding how much water you need to drink that day. There are many symptoms associated with overhydration, one of them leading to a condition called hyponatremia, an illness where the amount of sodium circulating in your bloodstream is extremely low. The individual suffering from this condition is predisposed to having a cardiopulmonary arrest, seizures, swelling of the brain (also known as cerebral edema), coma and it can even lead to death. This is why you need to be really careful about how much water you consume a day.
How important is the proper balance of sodium and water in the bloodstream?
The answer to that is: very important! Sodium helps regulate the quantity of water found in and around your cells. There needs to be a balanced quantity of both water and sodium, because if there isn’t, you can develop hyponatremia. There is not enough sodium to regulate the water in your cells, this causing your body to become flooded with water and start swelling.
Hyponatremia: what are the symptoms?
Hyponatremia will initially begin with symptoms that can be attributed to the common flu. Those affected might experience dizziness, confusion, nausea and headaches, symptoms that might take a turn for the worse if they are not taken care of in time. Also, the individual might experience muscle cramps and weakness, seizures, loss of consciousness, swollen extremities, breathing difficulties due to the accumulation of water in the lungs and even coma. Hyponatremia is also believed to lead to behavioral changes because of the brain getting swollen. The person affected might go through episodes of delirium, loss of attention, shouting, blurry vision and even irrational behavior.
How to know if you’re drinking too much water
Your body tells you when you need water, so only give it when you feel like you’re thirsty. The color of your urine can also be used as a guide. Normally, pee needs to be of a pale yellow. If your urine is clear, it’s a sign that you are drinking too much water. If you go through frequent urination, you should also reduce your water intake. It’s not very pleasant to lose sleep at night because you have to get up to pee.
So, drink just as much water as you think you might need, taking it in sips in the morning and throughout the day. Remember, your body knows best what you need, and it will definitely let you know when another glass of water is required.