What is overhydration?

Overhydration which occurs due to excessive intake of water is considered as a dangerous condition. It can disrupt the balance between water and sodium in the blood. Intake of increased fluids helps the body regulate the body temperature, flush out waste products, prevent constipation and perform other vital functions. In most cases, especially those who exercise under warm conditions are usually worried about not drinking enough water.

Nevertheless, drinking too much which leads to overhydration is considered life-threatening.

What are the types of overhydration?

  • Increased water intake – drinking too much water than what the kidneys can eliminate via the urine can lead to the collection of too much water in the body.
  • Water retention – if the water could not get rid of excess water, it is called as water retention. This occurs in several medical conditions that can be dangerous since it throws off the balance between sodium and water in the bloodstream.

Causes of overhydration

Overhydration

It is important to note that overhydration can be triggered by drinking excess water. This can occur both unconsciously and consciously. An individual might drink too much water while exercising.

It is important to note that overhydration can be triggered by drinking excess water. This can occur both unconsciously and consciously. An individual might drink too much water while exercising.

There are also some medications that can trigger dry mouth and trigger a rise in the level of thirst. Elevated thirst can also be instigated by diabetes that is not properly controlled. In addition, there are also psychiatric issues such as schizophrenia that can lead to excessive drinking of water.

Overhydration can also be triggered by water retention which is often the result of health conditions such as kidney issues, liver disease, congestive heart failure and syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone.

What are the indications?

You might not be able to recognize the symptoms in the initial phases. The typical symptoms might include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in the mental state such as disorientation or confusion

If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to a dangerously low level of sodium in the blood. Take note that this can lead to severe symptoms such as the following:

  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness, cramps or spasms
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Management

The management is aimed on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause such as the following:

  • Reducing the intake of fluid and salt
  • Treating the underlying medical condition
  • Diuretics to increase the amount of urine produced
  • Medications to reduce the symptoms such as seizures, nausea and headache

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