Drinking too much water can cause brain damage and even death in extreme cases, say medical experts

Drinking a lot of water helps you pee more and flush out excess waste and water, but excess water can be dangerous because it causes sodium levels to become dangerously low.


                            Drinking too much water can cause brain damage and even death in extreme cases, say medical experts

While it may be counterintuitive to think that drinking too much water is bad for you, doctors say otherwise. Medical experts have cautioned that while the problems of dehydration are widely known, over-hydration can also lead to serious health complications and even death in some extreme cases, Daily Mail reports.

The kidneys can only process a liter of water an hour, although the average adult requires between 3-4 liters of water on a daily basis. The liquid is stored inside the body's cells with nowhere else to go. This causes them to swell and drags down sodium levels in the blood - a process known as water intoxication - ultimately making it difficult for the body to regulate blood pressure.

Competitors grab water from a drink station as they run down First Avenue during the 2007 New York City Marathon on November 4, 2007 in New York City.
Competitors grab water from a drink station as they run down First Avenue during the 2007 New York City Marathon on November 4, 2007 in New York City.

According to Business Insider, if the excess water is stored in layers of muscle or fat, the swelling in the body is manageable. However, if the water is stored in the brain, it can lead to serious health issues owing to its inflexible structure.

Water intoxication can lead to headaches, confusion, or drowsiness. However, patients may suffer brain damage, fall into a coma, and may even die in extreme cases of increase in pressure.

Water intoxication can lead to headaches, confusion, or drowsiness. (Pixabay)
Water intoxication can lead to headaches, confusion, or drowsiness. (Pixabay)

According to medical experts, one must check the color of their urine to diagnose symptoms of over-hydration. Speaking to Popsugar, Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre, said that one must aim for a light lemon shade.

A study found that 1 in 6 marathon runners develop mild cases of water intoxication from their races, prompting health experts to advise marathons runners to keep a tab on how much water they consume. It is said that the body does not get rid of the water as efficiently after the physical stress caused by running.