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How Much Water Is TOO Much Water?

Summary: If you're an endurance athlete, too much water consumption could be putting your life in danger.
Air Date: 7/10/15
Duration: 10
Host: Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Howard Mell, MD
Dr. Howard Mell is dual board certified in emergency medicine and EMS. He trained at the University of Illinois and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Mell works for EmCare as a regional EMS director and works clinically at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren Ohio.
How Much Water Is TOO Much Water?
Water is essential for life. Experts have stressed that you need to drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water on a daily basis.

However, the amount of water you need depends on a few things. What if you're an endurance athlete? What if you live in a warmer climate and you're outside more frequently?

One thing doctors always recommend is that whenever you feel thirsty, you should be drinking water.

Is there such a thing as too much water?

You may be surprised to learn that drinking too much water can be incredibly dangerous for your health and potentially fatal. Recent expert recommendations are saying that endurance athletes such as marathoners or those who are constantly physically active should drink plenty of water based on level of activity, but only when they feel thirsty.

This is because overdrinking, especially when exercising, has become a huge problem. When you drink too much water, you drastically decrease your sodium levels and can exceed your body's ability to get rid of the fluids through your sweat and urine. When your body can't excrete these fluids, your sodium levels continue to deplete and can do so while exercising up to 24 hours later.

What are the warning signs of too much water?

Mild symptoms may appear at first, such as a headache, confusion, seizures, and vomiting.

What else can you do to ensure you're getting the right amount of water?

Dr. Howard Mell joins Dr. Leigh to discuss water consumption and how you can avoid overdrinking.