The Nation's Health + [food]

Water overdose? Can you over drink?

A Californian woman died of water poisoning after taking part in a bizarre drinking contest to win a computer games console, according to US authorities. Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead in her home in Rancho Cordova, California, on Friday after drinking as much water as she could without going to the toilet.

The condition of your body when you've consumed too much water is called hyponatremia or "water intoxication." This occurs when an abundance of water causes salt in the blood to become diluted. Add this to the fact that we sweat salt and it's easy to see why the amount of sodium our bodies need would decrease. This decrease can cause swelling in the brain that can lead to coma or death.

healthy foodWater intoxication, also known as hyponatremia, is extremely rare and only usually affects endurance athletes, such as long distance runners. The condition is caused by a loss of sodium in the blood due to sweating and dilution by drinking large volumes of water. Typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting and headache. In the most serious cases the brain swells causing confusion, seizures, coma and even death.

The trick when participating in strenuous exercise or activity is to get the right amount of fluids. Eight to sixteen ounces is a good guideline, but there are other factors to consider. These factors would include how much you sweat, your size, weight, climate, and the level of activity you are participating in. Typically, a person will lose weight during exercise, especially if it is a distance event. Weigh yourself before you begin. If after the event is over, your weight is the same or you have gained, you have probably drank too much and are over-hydrated.