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How Drinking Water Can Kill?

By on August 28, 2014
Zyrees Oliver, a high school football player just west of Atlanta, reportedly drank four gallons of fluids — two of water, two of Gatorade — during football practice on last week. Oliver’s mother, who picked her son up from football practice, says he was complaining of cramps and collapsed shortly after arriving home. Experts say he may have drank too much fluids, causing irreparable damage.
It is possible to drink too much water and die. There is such a thing as a fatal water overdose.In a 2005 study, the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to one sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of hyponatremia, or dilution of the blood caused by drinking too much water, this all according to the Scientific American.When a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough and the blood becomes waterlogged.Hyponatremia, a word cobbled together from Latin and Greek roots, translates as “insufficient salt in the blood.” Quantitatively speaking, it means having a blood sodium concentration below 135 millimoles per liter, or approximately 0.4 ounces per gallon, the normal concentration lying somewhere between 135 and 145 millimoles per liter. Severe cases of hyponatremia can lead to water intoxication, an illness whose symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation.

Consider that about every hour, a healthy kidney at rest can excrete 800 to 1,000 milliliters, or 0.21 to 0.26 gallon, of water and therefore a person can drink water at a rate of 800 to 1,000 milliliters per hour without experiencing a net gain in water.

If that same person is running a marathon, however, the stress of the situation will increase vasopressin levels, reducing the kidney’s excretion capacity to as low as 100 milliliters per hour. Drinking 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water per hour under these conditions can potentially lead a net gain in water, even with considerable sweating.

A 17-year-old Georgia teen, Zyrees Oliver, was taken off life support recently. Without the support of ventilators he quickly passed away. His death comes five days after he collapsed shortly after football practice and slipped into a coma.

“He’s already in heaven,” Oliver’s aunt Nina told the Atlanta Journal Constitution not long after her nephew died.