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What Happens When You Drink Too Much Water?

Many of us are concerned with drinking enough water. That's probably one of the top heath-centric New Year's resolutions. As water is essential for life and is lost through exercise and things we do throughout the day, hydration especially becomes a concern more so during those warmer months when we are spending more time outside. But can you get too much water? As with most things, moderation is key. Too much water can lead to headaches, fatigue, swelling, disorientation, and even death. Just last month, a 35-year-old woman passed away after drinking four bottles of water in less than 30 minutes.

But how does too much water affect your body and why is it dangerous? When your body is overhydrated its electrolytes are unbalanced causing cells in your body to swell. The cells in the brain may eventually swell causing blood flow to stop or pressure to the brain stem. Both of these conditions are especially dangerous potentially causing coma, seizures, or even death.

So how much water should you drink? It differs from person to person as everyone has different body mass and levels of exercise. But a good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by two and drink that amount in fluid ounces if sedentary. If exercising weigh yourself before and after exercising. Take your body weight and divide it by two, but add 16 to 20 oz for each pound lost during your workout.

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