Overhydration=death?? From the NY Times...
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Americano_a_Roma's Avatar
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    Feb 2005

    Overhydration=death?? From the NY Times...

    Just ran across this article in the NY Times:


    Here's a summary from the accompanying editorial:

    "A study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine should give weekend warriors reason to rethink the wisdom of quaffing vast amounts of water or sports drinks while exercising vigorously - at least if they are engaging in such endurance tests as a marathon. The study found that a marathon runner could dangerously dilute the blood with an overdose of liquids, risking a coma and even death. The problem has also been detected during long military maneuvers, extended bike rides and blistering hikes through the desert.

    An article by Gina Kolata in The Times today describes the slow and belated recognition of the problem. A South African expert who has been warning of the dangers for more than two decades told Ms. Kolata that he had not found a single case when an athlete had died from dehydration in a competitive race, but that some people had sickened and died from drinking too much. Typically, an overdose of water dilutes their blood and reduces the concentration of sodium. Water enters the cells, causing them to swell, and engorged brain cells press into the skull; such pressure can lead to confusion, seizures and a loss of vital functions."

    The article states that this is a particular problem among slower marathon runners, as they have more time to overhydrate; I would guess that anyone riding a century would similarly have plently of time to drink too much. It also says that many who had problems were drinking sports drinks, which contain some sodium and are meant to replace lost salts. I guess the lesson is to listen to your body, and not just pound liter after liter of H20 or sports drink because that's what you're "supposed" to do...
    Last edited by Americano_a_Roma; 04-15-2005 at 01:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Reputation: Jdub's Avatar
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    May 2004


    Please add your commments to the thread from yesterday. This topic is already being discussed.
    "Words are a heavy thing...they weigh you down. If birds talked, they couldn't fly." Sy Rosen and Christian Williams, Northern Exposure, On Your Own, 1992

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