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Water Overdose: A Summertime Reality For Exercisers

Water Overdose

Athletes and recreationally active individuals are now at risk for the dangers of EAH, or exercise associated hyponatremia, based on a study conducted earlier this year.

EAH affects active individuals who drink either too much water or sports drinks. The end result interferes with the body’s natural ability to remove excess water and can ultimately lead to death. According to the Washington Post, last summer, there were two reported incidences of death as a result of hyponatremia.

In Carlsbad, California, back in February of this year, a panel of 17 international experts gathered for the third International Exercise-Associated Hypernatremia (EAH) Consensus Development Conference with the goal of officially launching a campaign to fight the morbidity and mortality associated with a preventable and treatable fluid imbalance, or in short, exercise associated hyponatremia. CBS News reports that researchers are in agreement with one another when it comes to a need for more educational programs for athletes and coaches which stress the importance of practicing safe hydration.

Athletes are taught at a young age to always stay hydrated as a way to avoid dehydration. Even television ads starring athletes pushing Gatorade are shown with the idea of fighting dehydration and then there’s Pedialyte which has been marketed as a hangover cure for adults. New information from a panel of experts has recently debunked the idea of drinking in excess, and instead favors drinking only when thirsty.

The researchers behind the study, which was published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, wrote that “aggressive drinking to prevent dehydration is unnecessary and carries with it greater risk of developing symptomatic EAH.”

Modest to moderate levels of dehydration are tolerable and pose little risk to life in otherwise healthy individuals. Laboratory and field studies indicate that fluid deficits less than and up to a volume approximately equal to 3% of normal body mass (or ∼5% total body water) can be tolerated without a reduction in endurance performance or muscular power when in cool to temperate (−10°C-20°C) temperatures. Therefore, aggressive drinking to prevent dehydration is unnecessary and carries with it greater risk of developing symptomatic EAH.

One of the suggestions from the panel involves treating EAH through the use of a more powerful saline solution, an upgraded version of what is used to treat rehydration. But as summer approaches, the dangers of EAH become more invasive to athletes and recreationally active individuals.

In other news related to the dangers of exercise, SurveyMonkey’s chief executive Dave Goldberg died while exercising on a treadmill in his private gym.

Are you surprised by the notion of overdosing on water?

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