Too much of anything can be bad for you – we all know this. But do you know that this holds true for water as well? Water is good for rehydration. But when it exceeds the permissible consumption limits, it can make people sick.
There have been severe cases where the over-consumption of water had led to death. You may have been told to drink more and more water, but the outcome can be fatal when you disregard your actual body requirements. The phenomenon is called water intoxication.
When you drink water just for the sake of doing so, you put extra pressure on your body. How? There are many ways in which your body is over-stressed.
[ Read: Side Effects Of Drinking Hot Water ]
Let’s Have A Look At The Severe Side Effects Of Drinking Too Much Water:
1. Causes Hyponatremia:
The sodium content in the blood influences the functioning of the electrolytes. These electrolytes are responsible for sending signals to the cells which control various operations of the body. When you consume too much water, the sodium levels in the blood decrease. This stops the electrolytes from sending signals to the cells.
Hyponatremia is a disease caused due to insufficient levels of sodium in the blood. When the level of sodium falls below 135 mm per liter, it causes swelling in cells. The symptoms of this disease involve nausea, vomiting, fatigue, excessive urination, disorientation, and headache. It is the worst outcome of drinking too much water as it may eventually lead to death. However, it is quite unusual and rare.
2. Overburdens The Heart:
The heart performs the vital function of pumping blood through your entire body. When you consume too much of water, this increases the volume of blood inside your body. The increased blood volume causes unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels and the heart, leading to seizure in some cases.
3. Causes Damage To Glomeruli:
Glomeruli are capillary beds in our kidneys. They work as a filtering station to excrete excess water from the body. Too much of water can cause potential damage to this system, leading to serious health hazards. The kidneys have to work overtime to process all this unnecessary water that is beyond their normal filtering capacity (1000 ml per hour).
4. Causes Swelling Of Cells:
As your blood gets diluted due to excess water, the concentration of electrolytes in the blood becomes lower than that in the cells. To maintain a balance in the concentration of electrolytes in the blood and the cells, water begins to flow into the cells. This results in swelling of cells, which is a dangerous condition.
5. Causes Brain Edema:
This is the swelling of brain cells. It is as hazardous as it sounds. Most of the cells in our body have a lot of room to stretch out. But the flat bones in our skull do not leave much space for the brain cells to be accommodated freely. When excess water in the blood vessels starts seeping into the brain cells, it causes swelling in the cells of the brain. This leads to severe conditions that include coma, brainstem herniation, and respiratory attack.
6. Depletes Potassium:
Potassium is an essential nutrient for your body and you must maintain its proper levels as such. But sometimes, excess water causes a dip in the concentration of potassium. This may cause problems like irritation, chest pain, leg pain, etc.
7. Causes Stomach Irritation:
Sometimes, drinking excess water leads to an imbalance in electrolytes. This imbalance leads to irritation in your stomach. It is also a preliminary stage of hyponatremia.
[ Read: Disadvantages Of Coconut Water ]
8. Liver Problems:
Here, it is important to note that this problem is not caused by merely drinking too much water. Rather, it happens by drinking too much of water with iron in it. Iron overload is not exactly detrimental, but, in rare cases, it may cause liver-related problems as well.
9. Passes On Risks Of Chlorine Intake:
Most of the drinking water is treated with chlorine for purification. Over the years, it has been proved that overdosage of chlorine through water causes severe diseases like cancer or organ dysfunction. So when you drink water, even the bottled one, you are prone to these risks.
10. Too Much Urination:
When you drink lots of water at once, it is normal that you suffer from excessive urination or frequent urination. Your body has its own mechanism of absorption and volume response. Downing too much water instantly causes failure of your body to absorb the fluid. Hence, frequent urination occurs.
These are the side effects caused by drinking too much water. In case you experience any of these symptoms, you should straightaway visit a doctor. Don’t attempt to rectify the situation by reducing your water intake suddenly. It may also have detrimental effects on your kidneys. Maintain an optimum level of consumption and follow your doctor’s advice in this matter.
How Much Water Is Good For You?
Of course, all these side effects of drinking excessive water are scary. But you can avert them easily by properly ascertaining the amount of intake. The recommended limits of water are 6-8 glasses (8-ounce glasses) daily. In simpler words, you should drink about 3 liters of water daily. However, slight deviations are always allowed in these limits. But you need to maintain the proper level. Although it depends upon your lifestyle, environment, and eating habits, here’s how you can keep a check on your daily water diet:
- Drink enough water to quench your thirst.
- If your food is rich in water content, you should limit your water intake. However, if you use more salt and spices, it is necessary to drink a little more than the recommended quantity of water per day.
- Check the color of your urine. Clear urine means you are healthy and well-hydrated. But yellowish color indicates the need of more water for your body. Here, you should remember that sometimes this color may also result from the additives in your food.
- Check your body weight frequently to ascertain if you are well-hydrated. It should be consistent and not fluctuate too much.
Contrary to the myths that drinking as much water as you can will never harm you, these are certain serious side effects of drinking more water. The idea here is not to deter you from your regular intake of water, but to warn you regarding the side effects of drinking too much water.
Do you know of any other effects of drinking too much water? Share with us in the comments section below!
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