Sunday, September 4, 2011

Too much water can be bad for you?

Did you know you can actually drink too much water? I guess I had actually known that as well, but didn’t understand why. I remember a few years ago a local radio station was holding a contest for, if my foggy memory can recall, a Wii gaming system. This was back when the Wii was hard to get and actual fights were erupting in stores for them, and people were actually selling their kids for them… or something like that. Anyways, the fall of civilization aside, this particular radio station came up with what seemed like a benign, safe contest to hold as a radio gimmick… they picked several people out of a crowd and held a water drinking contest. That’s safe right? It’s just water… heck, we’re made up of water… no way drinking too much water can be bad for you, right? Unfortunately not a single one of those people putting on the contest asked whether or not it was safe to consume gallons of water in a single sitting… so for one contestant, it turned into an awful morning… the worst kind of awful…  she died. Died of drinking too much water!
It’s called Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a metabolic condition in which there is not enough sodium (salt) in the body fluids outside the cells. When the amount of sodium in fluids outside cells drops, water moves into the cells to balance the levels. This causes the cells to swell with too much water. Although most cells can handle this swelling, brain cells cannot, because the skull bones confine them. Brain swelling causes most of the symptoms of hyponatremia.
I only bring any of this up because I think I suffered from a mild case of hyponatremia yesterday after my brick workout. I had gone on a 46 mile bike ride through Santiago Canyon and followed that up with a 6 mile hill run. Because I forgot my Gatorade at home, all I had with me was a 24 oz bottle of water… I didn’t think it was a big deal, because I downed a liter of water right before starting the bike ride. Unfortunately by mile 28 of my bike, I had no water left. My buddy Brad had handed me one of his Gatorade bottles before we started the ride, but before I could get a drink of it, it had popped out of the bottle holder when I hit a rough patch and spilled out onto the road…that totally sucked! I knew my sodium levels were depleting though, because the amount of sweat dripping from my body was unholy and I was constantly wiping the eye burning, stinging sweat away from my eyes just to be able to see the road. During the loop back, I knew I couldn’t go much further without something to drink, so we stopped for a Gatorade at a convenience store. The confusion and irrational behavior must have really affected me I only bought one… no water either… so dumb! I drank it down in what seemed like a single gulp… and I was still thirsty. But it helped and got me through the bike. After the bike, we started our run… a painful run through hills that I barely survived, fighting through some cramping, and mental fatigue. After the workout was finished, I grabbed my emergency bottle of water that was in the car… nearly swallowed the entire liter of water within 10 minutes but I still felt thirsty… I just couldn’t hold any more liquid… So during my drive home, I felt nauseous… a little dizzy. I arrived home and drank more water thinking I was dehydrated. After a quick shower and a quick bite to eat, I started working on cleaning out the garage with Elijah… still sweating and still so thirsty, I grabbed more water and a diet coke… a big mistake… I grew more and more nauseous… I felt this way for hours yesterday. It wasn’t until I had some salty food did I even start to feel better… to feel whole again…
Lesson here? Don’t let your wife talk you into doing chores around the house after a long workout! I kid, I kid… (sort of). Actual lesson here is simple… Gatorade is your friend… sodium is your friend… chores, not so much…

1 comment:

  1. John, seriously, don't kill yourself... That's nar nar... Working out is totally great but don't push your body to the brink dear friend <3