However, too little or too much of anything may not always translate into a good thing in life. This might also applies to essential daily fluids that, if ingested too much orally or intravenously, can cause dangerous medical issues and even one’s demise as per a water-drinking contest that killed a woman due to negligence. Only hours after favorably volunteering to participate in a Sacramento radio station KDND-FM (107.9)’s water drinking contest, a 28-year-old female named Jennifer Strange died of drinking too much water according to the examining coroner who described the life-threatening “water intoxication death” that caused hyponatremia (low sodium). As one of the contestants, Strange was handed eight-ounce bottles of water to drink every 15 minutes because she wanted to win a Nintendo Wii video game system.
Unfortunately and sadly, Strange’s mother discovered her daughter’s body at her home in the suburbs of Rancho Cordova in Sacramento, California on a Friday in the month of January 2007. Strange was apparently having a severe headache as per her coworker and employment supervisor’s recounts that day, “She said [that] she was on her way home and her head was hurting…and was crying….”
Water does not have the same consistency and levels of solute as the blood’s pH; it is mostly hypotonic and may cause a dilution of the vital salts in the body and producing a decrease in intrinsic sodium, preventing proper physiological functioning; it may lead to the swelling of the brain, compression of the brain in a closed compartment of the skull, and the sequelae of neurological symptoms and signs of nausea, vomiting, weakness, seizures, coma, and death. Other neurological disease that may occur include central pontine myelinolysis (also called osmotic demyelination syndrome or central pontine myelinosis) that is a severe damage of the myelin sheath of nerve cells in the brainstem which arises from sodium treatment induced. The latter is a complication of treatment of patients with profound, life-threatening electrolyte abnormalities, which may be the result of chronic or untreated polydipsia (excessive thirst or excess drinking).
Polydipsia is a symptom and not an actual a disease state and can be either psychogenic or non-psychogenic. Some medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus can precipitate polydipsia. Primary polydipsia, which is excessive thirst and water intake due to an absence of a psychogenic stimulus, describes the 28-year-old female who drank disproportionate non-isotonic fluids that caused electrolyte abnormalities and her eventual death. On the other hand, psychogenic polydipsia is an excessive water intake in some patients with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and/or the developmentally disabled, where the amount of water ingested exceeds the amount that can be excreted by the kidneys.
As an aside for healthcare providers, sodium level abnormalities should be monitored and corrected appropriately (i.e., no more than 8-12 mmol/L of sodium per day or 18 m/Eq/L per 48 hours for treating hyponatremia) to prevent central pontine myelinolysis.
Replenish 360 (R360)’s excellent and knowledgeable staff and medical team understands wholly all of the risks and potential principal side effects that may accompany oral and intravenous administration of fluids, nutrients and receiving the other wellness services of Replenish 360 (R360).
Based on the renowned medical textbook, “The Fluid, Electrolyte & Acid-Base Companion” by Sarah Faubel, MD and Joel Topf, MD (who actually wrote this useful book throughout their respective internal medicine residency at the University of Colorado and medicine/pediatrics residency at the Indiana University), fluid, electrolyte and acid-base disorders are arguably one of the most puzzling and very complex topics and themes in medicine. It is well known that electrolyte disturbances and acid-base disorders from ineffective daily hydration not only significantly affect one’s neurological, respiratory, renal, and cardiovascular physiology but also may have largely systemic effects that prevent homeostasis in the body in all major organ systems and not just the ones stated. However, whether it’s Starling’s Law, volume regulation, osmoregulation, salt balances and imbalances, metabolic and respiratory acidosis and alkalosis, for instance, Replenish 360 (R360)’s experienced medical professionals are cognizant of these important physiological effects of fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base disruptions that come from either an excess or deficit of these respective imbalances in the body.