Monday, August 23, 2010

Too Much Water Can Kill You!

     I am sure that you never thought that you would hear those words.  Actually, too much water can kill you.  It is called water intoxication or Hydronatremia.  It happens more often than you would think.  There are a couple of different scenarios where it is most likely to occur.  Usually it happens when people have strenuous workouts for more than four hours and drink such an excessive amount of water that they dilute the sodium concentrate in the blood.  This puts vital body functions in jeopardy and can result in death.  Signs and symptoms of water intoxication are similar to that of dehydration.  The victim may experience difficulty breathing, nausea, muscle cramps, slurred speech, and disorientation.  They need to be taken to the hospital immediately.  While waiting for medical help, sit them upright, keep them as calm as possible, watch for seizures, and try to increase their sodium levels by giving them salty foods like chips. 
     People who live in hot environments and sweat profusely should not rehydrate with water alone.  They need to rehydrate with drinks that contain electrolytes and eat salty snacks to replace the loss of sodium.  Sports drinks by themselves won't replenish your sodium if you exercise for several hours.  Here are some examples of water intoxication cases that resulted in death.
     In 2002, 3 year old Rosita Gonzalez died of water intoxication when her babysitter punished her by forcing her to drink 3 quarts of water in a four hour period.  The babysitter was arrested for first degree murder.  In 2007, Jennifer Strange was found dead hours after trying to win a Nintendo Wii.  A radio station in California held a contest where contestants had to drink large quantities of water without urinating.  The family sued the radio station and were awarded $16.5 million in the wrongful death lawsuit.  In 2008, Jacqueline Henson died after drinking 4 liters of water in under 2 hours as a part of her diet plan.
     Water isn't bad for you.  But, like everything else, do not overindulge or you will have issues.  Water intoxication is real and can occur when you exercise for long periods of time and drink only large quantities of water.  If you are gonna workout for extended periods of time, then bring along a salty snake and drink a sports drink.  You can also die of water intoxication if you drink large amounts of water in a short period of time.  Such as in a water drinking contest or as a part of an extreme diet plan.  Please drink responsibly!


  1. I've heard of this and I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it in a television show. So you know what I did...Google, my friend.

  2. Good article Ricky I heard about the radio station event when it first happened and was surprised that they had not done any research on water before the contest.. Good article.


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