Primary Care Questions: Can I Drink Too Much Water?

primary care Mesquite, TX

One of the questions people often ask their primary care providers is how much water they should consume each day. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and drinking more water seems to be the solution for many health issues. Trying to lose weight? Drink more water and give your metabolism a boost. Want healthier-looking skin? Drink more water.

How much water should you drink?

While it is clear water is great for the body, figuring how much water each person should drink daily is not as simple. The general rule is eight glasses of water per day, but that is more of a guide and not a perfect amount for everyone. Each person has their unique anatomy and lifestyle that affects how much water they need to consume. For example, someone who lives an active lifestyle in a hot environment will need to consume more water than a sedentary person who lives in a cold climate.

Also, while being properly hydrated is essential for good health, it is possible to overhydrate. Overhydrating can lead to a very serious condition called hyponatremia. Think of it as overdosing on water.

Primary care tips to prevent overhydrating

When you drink too much water, it dilutes the sodium in your blood. Having diluted sodium levels can lead to some potentially life-threatening conditions. Those most at risk are people who perform activities that lead to profuse sweating and those who do not take in enough electrolytes.

There have been many real-life examples of people dying due to low sodium levels caused by drinking too much water. For example, some college students have died after being forced to drink large amounts of water during hazing rituals. It is a rare thing that occurs when a person consumes an abnormal quantity of water in a short period.

As was mentioned earlier, the most likely people to develop hyponatremia are people who participate in activities that lead to lots of sweating like marathon runners. By doing this, you lose a large amount of water. It is important that you replenish the lost electrolytes as well.

How to tell if you need primary care for overhydration

Common symptoms of being overhydrated include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • High body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lack of sweat

The most important signs to look out for are headaches, fatigue or gastrointestinal issues like vomiting. Get medical help once these symptoms occur.

Overhydration can be treated

How a primary care provider decides to deal with overhydration varies depending on your symptoms.

Treatments that are commonly used include:

  • Reducing fluid intake
  • Using diuretics to increase urine production
  • Treating any condition that led to the overhydrated state
  • Stopping the use of any medication that might be worsening the condition
  • Replenishing sodium levels

Can you drink too much water?

In short, it is possible to drink too much water. Pay attention to the signs above, especially after sports or other activities that encourage hydration. If you notice signs of hyponatremia, visit our urgent care center.

Call us today at (214) 247-7150 for more information from Code 3 ER & Urgent Care at Mesquite.

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