The danger of drinking too much water
Every year people are hospitalized and even die from drinking too much water. Last month, a 35-year-old Indiana woman died after drinking four 500ml bottles of water in just 20 minutes.
The cause of death was given as hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition that occurs when sodium concentrations in the blood drop to an abnormally low level
. This is dangerous because sodium plays a critical role in regulating the amount of water that enters the body's cells.
According to David Rowlands, professor of nutrition at Massey University, New Zealand, one of the populations most at risk of hyponatremia is ultra-marathon athletes.
What is the healthy water limit?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should not drink more than 1,500 ml of water or other fluids, such as sports drinks, in an hour.
Cases tend to occur when people are either excessively dehydrated from drinking alcohol or being outside in hot weather for many hours, or are already vulnerable because they take diuretic drugs for high blood pressure, which remove sodium from the blood.