Imagine yourself shopping in one of Dubai’s prime souks. Now imagine you shopping in the souks during summer. As the mercury rises above the 40ºC mark in the Emirates, the energy-sapping humidity reminds you to drink up that extra gulp of water.
Even when this is your fifth bottle since the morning (it’s just noon), you grab your sipper to get that extra dose of hydration. But, did you need that extra sip? Undoubtedly your body cells need water to function well, and depriving the body of water might cause dehydration. However, the problem arises when you drink too much water, which is known as overhydration.
Then how much water should you drink every day?
This is a simple question with no easy answer. Over the years several studies have procured varied recommendations, but there’s no single formula that governs how much water you should drink daily. The popular suggestion of 8 glasses a day can be a brilliant starting point. You can start with that and depending on your overall health, exercise regimen, and conditions like breastfeeding or pregnancy, you might adjust your intake.
Can too much water harm you?
Yes, it can. When you get overhydrated or drink too much water, your body can experience intoxication, water poisoning, or even a disruption in brain function. Overhydration can lodge too much water in your brain cells causing them to swell. This might result in drowsiness, confusion, and headaches. When the pressure increases, it can further lead to conditions like bradycardia and hypertension.
In addition, sodium is one electrolyte most affected by overhydration. It can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia. Sodium helps to keep the balance of the fluids inside and out of cells. When the sodium level drops due to water retention, the fluid gets inside the cells. Thus, the cells swell which puts you at risk of going into a coma, having seizures, and even death.
How to find out if you are drinking too much water?
- The first sight is too many bathroom times. On average a person should urinate six to eight times a day and if you are going more than that, it’s either water or something like caffeine/alcohol.
- Secondly, you can check the color of your urine. It is usually pale yellow to tea-colored due to the blend of urochrome and water level. If your pee is clear, it is a sign that you are drinking too much water.
- Thirst is your body’s response to dehydration and it can be your guiding cue. So, if you are drinking water even when you aren’t thirsty, it is a clear sign of overhydration.
Overhydration has its atrocious effects but all the major systems of your body depend on water. Adequate water intake can help your body to regulate temperature, flush out toxins, prevent constipation and perform all the major bodily functions. So, while you must resent from overhydration, ensure to drink a healthy amount of water daily.