Water intoxication: when drinking too much water, it becomes dangerous

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Water is vital, but too much of it can be dangerous. Hollywood star Brooke Shields experienced the unthinkable when she was hospitalized with a seizure.

Water is essential for the body. It boosts the metabolism, helps us think and keeps the body fit. The body becomes dehydrated and can dry out if we don’t drink water. A lack of water can lead to severe health problems, depending on the extent. However, excessive water consumption can also have consequences for the body.

Brooke Shields suffered from water intoxication
If you drink too much water, your body experiences an oversupply. This dilutes the salt content in the blood. This disrupts the metabolism and the balance of minerals in the body. In the worst case, this can lead to water intoxication or hyponatremic encephalopathy if there is too little sodium in the blood.

US actress Brooke Shields (58) recently experienced this. She drank a lot of water after a long podcast recording to have enough fluid in her body. She wanted to prepare for a show recording in the evening and stay fit. However, the result was a seizure. “I was foaming at the mouth, turned blue and almost swallowed my tongue,” reported the Hollywood star in an interview with Glamour magazine after the incident. Only in the hospital did the doctors discover what had happened. “I flooded my system.” This, in combination with a lack of sodium in the blood, urine and body, then triggered a seizure, according to Shields.

In addition to seizures, the typical symptoms of water intoxication include nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion and an irregular heartbeat. Tiredness, weakness and less energy can also occur. This can be the case with as little as three liters.

In rare cases, water intoxication can also be life-threatening. A German health insurance company, Barmer, has published a report on several deaths caused by water intoxication. According to the report, amateur athletes are at risk, as they often drink too much water for fear of dehydration. But also people who rely on water for diets, for example, to suppress the feeling of hunger.

Anyone who drinks large quantities of water and notices something wrong should seek medical advice immediately if they suspect anything.

It is essential to keep water consumption in check. Drinking one and a half liters of daily water for an average healthy person is advised. Three to four times this amount may be necessary during sports or heavy physical work in hot weather.

According to the consumer advice center, the daily requirement depends on age, gender and body size. “The larger a body is, the more water it can lose through the skin,” it says. The umbrella organization recommends tap water, mineral water, unsweetened fruit, or herbal teas to get enough fluid. However, stockpiling water is not a good idea. It is better to drink water throughout the day.

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