- It is the condition in which there is great increase in the water content of the body.
- It is also known by different names like over-hydration, hyper-hydration, water toxemia, water poisoning or water excess.
Causes of Over-hydration
- It is the condition which generally occurs when more liquid is consumed than that can be excreted.
- It is very rare condition that occurs due to excess drinking of water when the body’s system functions normally.
- But there are some conditions which may lead to water intoxication as given below:
- In the case of heart failure where heart cannot pump blood properly
- Renal disorders in which the kidney fails to excrete enough water in urine
- Hyper-secretion of antidiuretic hormone as in the case of syndrome of inappropriate hyper-secretion of antidiuretic hormone (SIADH)
- Unduly large amount of intravenous administration of medications and fluids than the person’s body can excrete
- During first month of life in infants, there may appear this problem as the mechanism of kidney is underdeveloped due to which they cannot excrete the fluid rapidly.
- This condition is also more common in children who practices swimming a lot as there may be chance of drinking too much water while swimming.
- In case of adult, whose heart and kidneys are functioning normally, water intoxication may be noticed if they consume about 8 litre of water regularly.
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Signs and Symptoms
- Some of the signs and symptoms are noticed if one gets water intoxication. They are as follows:
- Behavioral changes are noticed first due to the effect of it in the brain as brain is highly vulnerable to this disorder.
- One becomes drowsy and inattentive
- Occurrence of nausea and vomiting
- Sudden loss of weight followed by weakness and blurred vision may be observed
- Anemia, acidosis, cyanosis, hemorrhage and shock are also common
- Muscular symptoms such as weakness, cramps, twitching, poor coordination and paralysis develop
- Severe conditions of water intoxication also result in:
- Delirium (extreme mental condition characterized by confused state and illusion)
- Seizures (sudden uncontrolled involuntary muscular contractions)
- Coma (profound state of unconsciousness, in which the person fails to respond external stimuli and cannot perform voluntary actions)
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Only fluid restriction works for mild water intoxication. In case of severe cases, the treatment may be done as below:
- Diuretics are used to cause water loss through urine.
- Antidiuretics hormone (ADH) antagonists are used to prevent ADH-induced reabsorption of water from renal tubules.
- Intravenous administration of saline to restore sodium.
Water Intoxication (Over-hydration): Introduction, Causes and Signs