Myth or Fact: You Can Drink Too Much Water

When we’re active, we’re reminded to ‘drink enough water.’

Water is critical for our bodies. It’s a vital part of every cell in our bodies. It regulates internal body temperature as we breathe and sweat. It assists in ridding the body of wastes. Water serves as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord. In pregnant women, it helps protect the fetus. On a warm day, water is deliciously refreshing!

The US Department of Agriculture recommends different amounts of water consumption based on age, sex and health status. Amounts range from one to four liters per day.

But what if you drink more than recommended? Can you have too much water?

The answer is yes, you can have too much water, and it can be dangerous.

If you consume too much fluid too fast and your body can’t rid itself of the surplus, you can experience hyponatremia, which is basically water intoxication.

When this happens, sodium levels in your blood become diluted, and your cells swell up. If the swelling occurs in your brain, it could be fatal.

In general, you should drink when you need it and when you’re thirsty. However, if you’re gaining weight, or your fingers seem swollen and rings are tight, you might be drinking too much. See the recommendations, or visit with your doctor about how much water is enough for you.

Water is critical to a healthy life. But like anything, just don’t overdo it.

Meet the Author

Dee Gabbard RDN, CD, is a dietitian at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, WI.

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The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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