Health Watch — Summer's Last Gasp: Too Much Water

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about getting through the last days of summer heat. Previously, we discussed how important it is to stay hydrated, especially when you’re exercising in the heat. But is it possible to go too far?

Dr. Benjamin Levine, a sports medicine specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says drinking too much water can lead to a rare complication called hyponatremia. This happens when the body’s sodium content gets dangerously low because of excessive water intake. Symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, seizures and even respiratory distress.

Most people are more likely to be dehydrated than to drink too much, but Dr. Levine says you shouldn’t follow the advice to stay ahead of your thirst or drink when you’re not thirsty.


August 2007

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