Water Poisoning Is A Real Thing And Can Easily Happen To You

Water Poisoning Is A Real Thing And Can Easily Happen To You

4 min read

What is water poisoning and how you can avoid it.

I went to the doctor the other day to get my swollen feet checked, and I got shocked sia. At first, I thought it was because I needed to change shoes. Then hor, I was stunned when he said I actually got water poisoning. Wah jialat. Our family drinks filtered water one leh. How come can kena poisoned?

What's water poisoning? Got such thing?

water poisoning

Image source: Unsplash

That’s when my doctor explained to me that water poisoning happens when you drink too much water. He asked if I’ve been drinking a lot of water these days. I said “Of course, lah.” 

We are Asians leh. Water solves everything. Feeling heaty? Drink water. Feeling sick? Drink water. Taking pills? Drink water. Weather damn hot? Drink water. Some more, our doctors always say to drink more water when we are feeling sick or trying to pass kidney stones. I tell you hor, sometimes to save time, I just drink 2 litres of water in one shot.

Turns out when taken to extremes, that Asian way of thinking is wrong.

When there’s too much water in your blood, your electrolytes and sodium can get diluted. The thing most people don’t realise is that sodium ensures that the fluids outside and inside your cells are balanced. When your sodium level becomes low, fluids outside the cells can travel inside, causing them to swell. That’s why athletes and Asian households are more susceptible to water poisoning – we tend to over-hydrate after running or from trying to cure our ailments.

Wah jialat. Too much salt and you get high blood pressure. Too little salt and you can get water poisoning. How like that?

The harmful effects of water poisoning

water poisoning

By now, some of you might be thinking, “Aiya, Uncle Tng, relax lah. Water only nia. Just pee it out or wait for it to evaporate lor.”

I used to think like that but after reading a few cases online about water poisoning’s effects, I think it’s better for us to be more careful. Water poisoning usually kicks in when you drink more than 4 litres of water within a few hours. 

As mentioned, overhydration can make our cells swell. When this happens to our brain cells, As the brain cells expand, the pressure in our skulls increases which could cause a buildup of fluid in our brain. As a result, our central nervous system could malfunction, leading to seizures, brain damage, coma, or even death.

Symptoms of water poisoning and how to prevent them

So to avoid any unnecessary deaths, be sure to keep a lookout for these telltale signs.

water poisoning

Image source: Unsplash

1. The colour of your urine

While clear urine is usually a good thing, having a constantly transparent urine might be a sign that you’re drinking way too much water. 

2. How often you pee

On average, a person urinates about 8 times a day. If your bathroom trips far exceed this number, get yourself checked as you might be drinking too much or have bladder problems.

3. Nausea

Kidneys can remove up to 28 litres of water per day, but they cannot remove more than 1 litre per hour. When there’s too much water in your body, the kidneys can't remove the excess liquid, which may lead to you experiencing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

4. Headaches

As pressure builds up in your skull from water poisoning, you could experience more throbbing headaches which may lead to brain damage.

5. Swelling of feet, hands, and lips

Overhydration can also make other parts of your body swell, causing them to bloat up and be discoloured.

6. Muscle spasms

As your electrolytes drop from overhydration, your muscles will become weaker, causing them to cramp up and experience spasms.

7. Fatigue

As your kidneys clock in OT to remove the excess water, your hormones will react and make you tired and fatigued all the time.

All in all, water poisoning is preventable as long as you remember to keep your water intake to about 3.7 litres a day for men, and 2.7 litres a day for women.

That being said, be sure not to drink them all in one sitting. Instead, you should ration them out throughout the day. A good way to do so is to invest in a durable and high-capacity water bottle, and drink from it as you do your daily activities. To find out how you can overcome other common illnesses in our age group, check out our articles on Parkinson’s disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Spread the love