Hyponatremia (Water Intoxication) What you should know

Having just found out about this condition i feel the need to explain a little bit on the life threatening disorder. Ever been on a PT lesson and constanly told to drink plenty of water before hand, during and after well i would reconsider doing so. Hearing storys of people dropping down dead on CFT'S and the fact my girlfriend has this condition i started to look into it in more depth. Basicly if you drink shitloads of water during excersise you could collapse if not slip into a coma or even die. Water dilutes the sodium in your blood and vacates your body either through your urine or sweat glands hense the white marks on your boots when you have sweaty feet. Your body can not function correctly without the right ballance of water and sodium levels thus bringing your blood pressure dangerously low and causing water to sit in your brain with your blood. Everytime my g/f goes for a pee she collapses because of the sudden loss of sodium that has been diluted. Advise by various websites is to drink something like lukozade hydro active water this has worked wonders for my g/f she is now completely back to normal. This is not an advertisment it is serious stuff which people need to know hope it is usefull.

For more info search google for hyponatremia.
Thanks for the info, Ghandis. 8)

I had heard of this, but understood that you have to drink a sh!t load of water to get it, whereas most people don't drink enough.

But it's good to know of the danger. I suppose the risk is much greater in hot environments.
Hyponatremia is hugely unlikely you need to be drinking so much water it diliutes your sodium levels in your plasma by a massive amount. Easy way if you are concerned about it is to add a pinch of salt to 500ml of water, you won't taste the salt but it will keep your levels stable. Also what is useful is that sodium plays an important part in thirst, as your sodium levels decrease so does your thirst even if you are not fully hydrated, so inturn keeping your levels stable you keep thirst there which again inturn helps with keeping you hydrated which shall help with proformance. Hope this helps

cheers brodz
Advise by various websites is to drink something like lukozade hydro active water
Just thinking back to my last jungle trip, couldn't move for all the lucozade knocking around!

I don't think I can recall any cases of soldiers knocking back a few bottles of water after phys and dying from hyponatraemia. The stories you hear of people dropping dead on CFTs are attributed to the fact that the individual hasn't hydrated himself sufficiently for the event / weather. As Highway stated, you really have to drink a significant amount of water for a prolonged period of time for a healthy body to get into difficulties. If you are eating properly at meal times your sodium levels will be managed perfectly well by your body. In the event of not having a proper diet (exercise, endurance events etc) then you might indulge in some diaoralyte to aid your recovery. Your point does have some validity, but there really isn't anything for an otherwise healthy and fit person to worry about. :D
Hyponatraemia from excessive water intake is extremely uncommon in fit, healthy individuals.

The risk does increase slightly, however, if a person sweats considerably and then drinks lots and lots of water. When you sweat you lose not only water but also the natural salts in your body, including Sodium (Hypo = Low, Natraemia = Sodium). So, by sweating excessively you decrease the amount of salt in your body and then run the risk of diluting the remaining salt by drinking too much water.

In UK the chance of this happening is very low, on the whole. In places like Iraq and Cyprus, however, risks can increase slightly. On one hand you are advised to drink plenty but on the other hand you can be sweating buckets and so losing salt. A balance has to be found. The following advice may be useful when in hot spots:

a. Do drink plenty of water. Take advice from local medical personnel as to the minimum daily requirements.
b. Maintain a good intake of salt in your food. I know that this contradicts a lot of health advice here in the UK, but when in hot countries it is a good thing to replace the salt lost by sweating. Find out if the chefs are already adding extra salt to the food (sometimes they are advised to do so) if not then either sprinkle a little on you main meals or eat salty foods like peanuts or crisps.
c. Where possible try to reduce the risks of oversweating. Don't 'beast' yourself training when it is not necessary, stay in the shade where possible etc etc.
d. If feeling unwell see a medic/doc sooner rather than later. It is much easier to manage heat injury in the early stages than when it gets to the point that people have keeled over.
e. Keep an eye on your colleagues Sometimes an individual may not spot the signs of illness in themselves.

And don't forget - you are more at risk from NOT drinking plenty of water than you are from drinking too much.
I know an individual (one of my mates) who went down with hyponatraemia, but it was only after prolonged exertion and water intake. It's also called 'water toxicity' and is the same effect seen in clubbers who take extacy and mistakenly drink loads of water. The answer, as said before, is to drink isotonic fluids of some kind while exercising. It is highly unlikely that anyone will go down with it during a normal PT session or a CFT. Most cases of people dropping dead in those situations are from long QT syndrome or 'sudden death syndrome', where an irregular heartbeat leads to ventircular disfuncion after an increase in activity.

Similar threads

Latest Threads