Can (excess) water be harmful to health? This is hyperhydration

Summer comes into our lives as a demanding season, crying out for hydration. Water, soft drinks, juices, infusions, coffees, smoothies and all kinds of drinks thus become the protagonists of a custom that, during hot months, demands the Intake of about three liters of liquid daily.

However, hyperhydration in medical terminology it can be very harmful to our body in extreme cases, similar to what would happen with a dehydrationAlthough the positive part of both cases is that both problems have relatively accessible solutions, which does not mean that in both examples the best remedy comes through prevention.

Alarms aside, the symptoms of one and the other are completely opposite, as shown by the MSD manuals, where in addition to warning of the difficulty of reaching hyperhydration, they speak of consequences such as vomiting and problems related to balance if the overhydration is sudden, being able to go further in their symptoms if it worsens, among which could include confusion or the seizure.

In any case, hyperhydration is a very rare phenomenon and it has a gradual onset, generally mild or moderate, which allows neurons to make changes that are generated in our al there are low concentrations of sodium in the blood. This last phenomenon, called hyponatremia, It is frequent that it appears when we consume diuretics, we suffer from diarrhea or certain cardiac, hepatic or nephrological pathologies.

How much water is too much water

To reach an overhydration in a healthy person, that is, where the kidneys, liver, heart and pituitary function normally, ingesting a large amount of water would demand volumes of extreme abnormality, which they explain from the MSD Manual “should drink more than 24 liters of water a day in the usual way. “

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To get to the extreme of hyperhydration, you would have to consume more than 24 liters of water a day. © Pexels.

This does not mean that there are no previous pathologies that can allow hyperhydration to appear, as it could be in those people where the kidneys do not eliminate urine normally. Among them we could find heart disease, nephropathy or liver disease or, in the case of premature babies, in the case that their kidneys are not yet mature.

In any case, it can also be caused by another pathology known as syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (synthesized in SIADH), where the pituitary (one of the parts of our brain, responsible for the secretion of various hormones) secretes too much vasopressin, which is commonly known as diuretic hormone, which instructs the kidneys to unnecessarily retain too much water.

Hyponatremia, the great complication

However, the problem of this enormous consumption may also allow the hypothetical appearance of other pathologies such as the aforementioned hyponatremia, which we would define as a serum sodium concentration lower than 135 mEq / l., That is, a greater dilution of the salts present in the body by excess of water in relation to the solutes.

Out of an estimated prevalence of 13,000 cases per million inhabitants, hyponatremia is more common in the hospital setting, affecting the elderly and women more frequently. Similarly, we would talk about the first hydroelectrolytic disorder by number of cases, where moderate or severe cases usually occur during hospital admission of the patient due to previous pathologies that could worsen it. For all these reasons, the hyponatremia It is the most serious consequence of this excess water.

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Consuming too much water could lead to hyponatremia. © Pexels.

This dissolution of salts is manifested neurologically in the case of hyponatremia with the formation of very small edema in brain cells, therefore, when hyponatremia occurs, headaches, confusion, and stupor often appear. In very serious cases, even reaching convulsions and coma.

Paradoxically, hyponatremia can occur due to being too hydrated, which generates this increase in diuresis, which will force us to visit the bathroom more frequently (when normal is do it six to ten times a day) o by extrarenal fluid losses (diarrhea or vomiting, which dehydrates us a lot and requires a constant replacement of fluids and mineral salts).

For these reasons, paying attention to our urine and the signals it sends through color is relevant to know how our excretory system works. Thus, the frequency of transparent urine will indicate an organism too hydrated, that it should not be harmful, but it is a sign that we are more hydrated than we should.

Fortunately, mild hyponatremia – complicated in healthy patients – are easy to recover with the guidelines of Primary Care, including the reduction of fluid intake or, if necessary, the inclusion of diuretics prescribed by the doctor.


Source: Vozpópuli by www.vozpopuli.com.

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