Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How water kills

Okay, I'll admit that I thought it was pretty unbelievable that a contestant on a radio show died from drinking too much water. I'd say I was A) shocked that the person sacrificed their life for a $250 game console and B) that it was too much water that killed her.

How is this possible? Well,
according to Wikipedia, too much water in your body causes the concentration in of sodium in your blood to plummet (a condition called hyponatremia). When this happens, your body's cells begin to absorb too much fluid. And this is bad for a number of reasons. One, the cells can't function right when they're bloated with fluid. Two, they can rupture (a process called cytolysis).

When all this bloating and rupturing occurs, cells in the central nervous system and brain are the first to go.

So how much water is too much? If you're on a low salt diet, all it takes is half-a-gallon to get water poisoning. If you're on a normal diet, you can stand three-quarters of a gallon. From what I read at Wikipedia a healthy body can handle about a quart of water per hour. But I wouldn't test it to find out.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.