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Over-hydrating yourself can lead to brain dysfunction

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From centuries, we’ve been told the benefits of water and its importance for a healthy lifestyle. However, many of them are unaware of the fact that pushing yourself over a limit can damage the body. The message about low intake of salt and much intake of water is confusing people and drops concern for the people overdosing it without any acquaintance. Excessive consumption of water can lead to a condition known as Hyponatraemia (water intoxication), in which levels of sodium in the blood become dangerously diluted leading to complications such as convulsions, coma and even death. This is exactly the same what happen to a forty year old woman Reema (name changed) who is working as a fashion designer.

She found herself plagued by headaches and dizziness and one morning blacked out at home. She was immediately rushed to Aware Gleneagles Global hospitals with mimics of coma and no signs of any medical conditions or health diseases. Doctors discovered that her sodium levels had fallen to a dangerous level and was at greater risk of coma or even death. The reason was hardly a mystery until the doctors found out her history. The cause was not drugs or alcohol but a detox diet. Every day she downs 6 liters of water and shuns intake of salt. Following the health message shows which get telecast every day morning, she has cut down the intake of salt and only used lemon instead. Normally, sodium level in a human should be 135-145(MEQ/L), but her sodium level reduced to 98. This affected her well-being leaving low sodium levels in her blood and symptoms such as brain dysfunction. If ignored, it would lead to fits, severe brain damage, and coma or may even death. Her sodium level was improved by giving supplements which helped in enhancing her health condition.

“The idea that you need to drink five or six liters of water a day is an urban myth. Too much of anything exceeding the limit will kill you. Having a balanced and healthy diet with regular exercises will enhance your well-being.” Says Dr Rajendra Vajrapu

 “How much water do I need to drink?” “How much sodium should be taken?” are the questions that might rise in your mind. Typically, intake of water depends on your size, weight and also on your activity level and where you live. However, the color of urine is a good indicator of how much fluid we need.

Sodium intake differs in every person with existing health conditions. According to Dietary guidelines, an upper limit for sodium consumption is of 2,300 milligrams per day for adults. And if you are 51 years of age, having health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic disease, it is recommended to lower the intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. It is been for decades that high salt intake increases blood pressure and low intake of salt have beneficial effects in chronic kidney diseases.

 by: Dr Vajrapu Rajendra

MD (NIMS), FNB (SGRH, N.Delhi), EDIC (UK)

HOD & Sr.Consultant – Critical Care, Director – MICU

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