Doctors have issued a warning that drinking too much water can be just as dangerous as drinking too little after a 59-year-old woman was admitted to hospital.
The woman decided to drink much more water in a bid to cure a urinary tract infection. She hoped that she could “flush out her system” by drinking half a pint of water every half an hour. However, she became very ill as was taken to King’s College hospital suffering from dangerously low salt levels in her blood, which is a condition which can prove deadly.
How much is too much?
Medics say that there now needs to be more research done about how much water is a safe amount to drink. In a report released in the British Medical Journal, medics Laura Christine Lee and Maryann Noronha said they often advised patients to drink plenty of fluids when they were feeling poorly. However, they questioned whether that advice could actually be harmful.
Following her admission to the accident and emergency department, the woman became shaky, confused and had difficulty speaking. Her deteriorating condition came after she had consumed several litres of water in just one day.
Water intoxication has been found to be a risk of some endurance sports as well as taking some medication which causes extreme thirst. Symptoms of water intoxication can include vomiting and headaches, swelling of the brain, confusion and seizures. In the worst cases, it can even lead to coma and death. Patients can have a 30 per cent chance of dying as a result of the condition.
The patient said that she had only a “patcy” memory of having been asked questions which she understood but could not find the answer for. She said she also remembered how forlorn her partner had looked as he sat by her hospital bed.