Weight Loss Support - Water intoxication




View Full Version : Water intoxication


cbmare
01-16-2007, 03:23 PM
There was something on the news around here over the weekend about a 28 yr old mother of 3 who entered a radio station contest. They had to drink as much water as possible w/out going to the bathroom. This was for some new electronic something or other.

This woman won. What a sad victory. Her mother found her dead that afternoon.

What wasn't said in any of the newscasts was this woman's physical size, how much water she drank and in what amount of time.

Many of the fraternities started water drinking contests years ago instead of beer and we heard about some deaths related to that.

How much water is too much? I know that you can drink too much and mess up your electrolytes. I drink about a gallon a day. If I'm camping or it's hot, I may drink more.

It's a sad way for those 3 kids to start their year.


Doughnut
01-16-2007, 03:28 PM
It said in the UK papers that she was drinking 300mls every 15 mins and this had been going on for hours. I don't know how much she had in total.

simone1ca
01-16-2007, 03:38 PM
I heard reports that she drank a gallon of water, but that was in a VERY short amount of time.

The National Academies of Science recommend 91oz of water for women, and 125oz of water for men. That would make up 80% of your water intake. The remaining 20% comes from food and other drinks.


jcatron243
01-16-2007, 04:47 PM
I heard that on our news too. It didn't give any indication of how much she drank or the amount of time she did it in.

I wonder if she had some other underlying problem.

my prayers to her family.

RidiculouslyAddicted
01-16-2007, 05:02 PM
I heard about this and was also wondering "How much is too much?" I'm interested to hear some answers on this...

sotypical
01-16-2007, 05:11 PM
I have had as much as 256oz (8 liters) in a day....

simone1ca
01-16-2007, 05:28 PM
I think with water intoxication, the amount you drink is secondary to how fast you drink it. Your kidney's can filter .9-1.5L/hr. I think you're in trouble if you're drinking more than that per hour.

AquaWarlock
01-16-2007, 05:46 PM
1) the woman didn't win, she was second place -
2) the results of death from "water intoxication" is attributed to sodium thrown off balance (the same happens a lot with marathon runners, long-distance athletes who drink only water - they're sweating out the electrolytes that are not getting replenished). And I don't think in any normal circumstance woudl we drink enough water for this to happen (since we would naturally, you know, pee! ~ as well as eat salty foods.)

Now, this is by no means an endorsement for gatorade or sports drinks (most of us don't exercise long enough for this to become an issue) - and yes, disheartening news, but as noted in the story - a nurse tried to call in about the warnings of such a contest, but she was dismissed.

LA Times (AP) version of the story:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water16jan16,1,4488610.story?coll=la-headlines-california

cbmare
01-16-2007, 06:11 PM
1) the woman didn't win, she was second place -
Now, this is by no means an endorsement for gatorade or sports drinks (most of us don't exercise long enough for this to become an issue) - and yes, disheartening news, but as noted in the story - a nurse tried to call in about the warnings of such a contest, but she was dismissed.

LA Times (AP) version of the story:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water16jan16,1,4488610.story?coll=la-headlines-california


I stand corrected on the winning part.

I can't help but think that there just may be a lawsuit against the radio station. I know she signed a waiver, but in Calif., those usually mean nothing. By the same token, that radio station probably reported the deaths at the fraternities several years ago. Did they not listen to their own broadcasts?

I only heard it on the radio. I didn't read any articles about it. Thank you for that.

ennay
01-16-2007, 06:12 PM
its happened also to people trying to dilute their pee for a drug scren...stupid it wont help. As long as you are eating food and not fasting, hyponatremia is very rare

RebaR
01-16-2007, 07:19 PM
I just heard on CNN that she drank 2 gallons in 2 hours...at least that's what I think they said

cbmare
01-16-2007, 07:30 PM
its happened also to people trying to dilute their pee for a drug scren...stupid it wont help.

Why wouldn't it help? I can understand if there was a blood test. But wouldn't peeing excessively wash much of that out? I'm not challenging you on this. I was just under the assumption that drinking a lot of water and peeing was a way to wash toxins out.

ennay
01-16-2007, 07:34 PM
Why wouldn't it help? I can understand if there was a blood test. But wouldn't peeing excessively wash much of that out? I'm not challenging you on this. I was just under the assumption that drinking a lot of water and peeing was a way to wash toxins out.

It will dilute drug traces yes, but most drugscreens will either pick up the trace amounts, or if you successfully dilute your urine to the point that it couldnt (i.e. you are peeing out nearly pure water), the other components of urine will be so diluted that most reliable drugscreeners will catch that it is an overly dilute sample and flag for retesting.

JayEll
01-16-2007, 08:13 PM
What I've read and follow myself is 8 to 10 8-oz. glasses per day. Not 12-oz., not 16-oz., but 8-oz. It's not something where you can double it and have it work twice as well. ;) I think it's really too bad that the radio station held such a stupid, dangerous contest. They ought to be held accountable.

Also, if one is exercising vigorously, such as running a marathon or playing football, too much water without enough salts is really dangerous. That's why drinks like gatorade were invented. They have not just sodium but also potassium, which is really necessary for regular heartbeat. Many people do not get enough potassium. I'm sure you've seen athletes get muscle cramps--in part that's because of not enough salts.

A can of V-8 juice or other vegetable juice really helps the electrolyte balance. If I'm having leg cramps at night, I drink a can before bed. One of the little cans. They also have hardly any calories.

Jay

jcatron243
01-17-2007, 01:18 PM
Jay that is a really great idea!! v-8 before bed!! I never thought about it. I drink 120 oz of water during the day, it helps fill me up and My skin looks great!!

Beach Patrol
01-17-2007, 02:04 PM
I think with water intoxication, the amount you drink is secondary to how fast you drink it. Your kidney's can filter .9-1.5L/hr. I think you're in trouble if you're drinking more than that per hour.

Correct - the "theme" of the contest was to drink as many bottled waters as possible WITHOUT going to "empty your bladder." Big no-no.

It's sad what people will do to themselves for money or prizes.

rockinrobin
01-17-2007, 03:23 PM
A week from today I will be taking a pelvic sonogram. I need to drink 32 ozs. of water within 1/2 of the test without peeing. And then get through the exam, without peeing. I'm not sure how I'm gonna do it without bursting. But I suppose I have no choice.

jcatron243
01-17-2007, 03:41 PM
Update: The radio station fired 10 people and took the morning show off the air. according to Yahoo news.

Robin I had to do that when I was pg for an early u/s but I had to drink 2 liters of water an HOUR before the exam. THat was PURE He!!

Katiecat
01-17-2007, 03:41 PM
This woman was from my town :( What's really sad, is if you listen to the audio clips of the show, the DJ's were warned a few times, and even questioned the safety of the contest themselves, in a joking manner. The woman told the DJ's when she conceded and agreed to the second prize that her head hurt really bad and she was feeling light-headed and sick. No criminal charges have been filed yet, but ten people, including five on-air personalities have been fired. Everyone here is wondering why the general manager hasn't been fired for allowing such a stupid, dangerous contest. It's not like it hasn't been local news before -- in 2005 a local fraternity pledge died during hazing from water intoxication, too.

Here's the local story:
http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/109112.html

Bottom line: drinking water is good -- it's important for weight loss and for your overall health. Drinking an excessive amount of water is dangerous.

rockinrobin
01-17-2007, 04:00 PM
Doing just about ANYthing is excess in no good. There are limits to EVERYTHING. Even healthy things. When will people learn? How sad this women had to die.

ennay
01-17-2007, 04:24 PM
Update: The radio station fired 10 people and took the morning show off the air. according to Yahoo news.

Robin I had to do that when I was pg for an early u/s but I had to drink 2 liters of water an HOUR before the exam. THat was PURE He!!

yeah my first pg they made me drink some ridiculous amount before each ultrasound and hold it and all 3 times they took a peek and said my bladder was too full and made me go " a little bit". which was harder than holding it.

2nd pregnancyI drank the water but when I had to pee I did, just a bit and kept drinking and that worked better.

rockinrobin
01-17-2007, 05:51 PM
I've had plenty of sonograms while pregnant and they always told me I hadn't had ENOUGH to drink and sent me back to the water fountain. Yuck. Not looking forward to next Wed. Not even a little bit.

cbmare
01-17-2007, 08:12 PM
It will dilute drug traces yes, but most drugscreens will either pick up the trace amounts, or if you successfully dilute your urine to the point that it couldnt (i.e. you are peeing out nearly pure water), the other components of urine will be so diluted that most reliable drugscreeners will catch that it is an overly dilute sample and flag for retesting.

Now that makes perfect sense. I know I've consumed large amounts of water and had the color change, but never to the point of looking like plain water.

zenor77
01-17-2007, 09:07 PM
I've had plenty of sonograms while pregnant and they always told me I hadn't had ENOUGH to drink and sent me back to the water fountain. Yuck. Not looking forward to next Wed. Not even a little bit.

I had to have a ultrasound to check for cysts and they let me "empty my bladder" half way through the visit. The technician couldn't see what she needed to with the over-the-belly wand, so she had to use the other kind. I guess you don't have to have a full bladder when they use the wand that they insert in that area. Either way it is no fun! I hope they get you into the exam room really fast!

EZMONEY
01-17-2007, 09:26 PM
I listened to some of the broadcast on John and Ken, down here on KFI, on my way home this evening. People did call in and warn them the dangers but, as with most of the idiotic out for ratings "zoo" morning shows, the contestants and the DJ's just joked it off. It is just a darn shame this young women died and that all the folks at the radio station will have to "live' with that the rest of their lives. Seriously though I think radio stations will sit back and take a look at this and consider changing their formats..........UNTIL THE RATINGS COME OUT AGAIN!!! Then back to the same old stuff....my wife listens to the "zoo" type stuff in the morning...as for me....give me the news and traffic and keep those LAUGHS to yourselves!! Drives me nuts!!....ahhh...another grumpy 'ol man!

SmartButt
01-17-2007, 09:42 PM
I'm also from the town where this took place (Sacramento). It was sad to think that this woman did all this just to win her children a Nintendo video game station.

When the nurse called in to warn them that people could die from water poisoning, the DJ said very lightheartedly "Well that's why they sign waivers, we are not responsible" and moved on as if the nurse was being a downer.

That family is going to sue the bejeezus out of that station, I bet you anything. I don't like frivolous lawsuits, but these people were completely irresponsible. Yes, she chose to do what she did unfortunately - but another contestant said that they were never warned about the dangers of the water poisoning, that the message from that nurse who called, was never passed on to them. Would she still have gone through with it if she'd heard the warning? Who knows.

I am with EZ, I hate morning "zoo" stuff.

ellencrn
01-17-2007, 09:49 PM
I wonder if the woman was on any psychiatric meds or had an underlying health condition. It would be odd that someone in good health would have died from that. Even after emptying her bladder, her body should have been able to fix her sodium level. It would be interesting to see if they release any of her medical history.

ennay
01-18-2007, 12:11 AM
I wonder if the woman was on any psychiatric meds or had an underlying health condition. It would be odd that someone in good health would have died from that. Even after emptying her bladder, her body should have been able to fix her sodium level. It would be interesting to see if they release any of her medical history.

No, it is very possible for a completely healthy person to die from water poisoning. The body cant fix it fast enough, when sodium levels drop you get pressure on the brain which causes it to not function properly and too low sodium and potassium causes heart attacks.

The only thing that fixes it is rapid infusion of sodium and potassium.

The person who won probably was larger or had more sodium/potassium to start with.

kaplods
01-18-2007, 12:22 AM
Not necessarily, Ellen.

My mother was hospitalized last year for water intoxication, and it was a week before they were able to stabilize her electrolytes enough to release her. Except for mild high blood pressure, she was in good health and was drinking less than a gallon a day (probably closer to 3 quarts).

I had always understood water intoxication to be nearly impossible, but the kidney specialist called in on the case, said that while Mom's mild blood pressure medication had contributed to the water intoxication, he said he is seeing it more often in completely healthy, unmedicated, people because of the popularity of diets that push heavy water intake, and myths like caffeinated beverages "not counting" toward fluid intake. He said there was no good reason for the average person to drink more than 2 quarts of liquids (including caffeinated beverages).

freiamaya
01-20-2007, 02:48 AM
I don't think that your bladder can "fix" an electroyte imbalance. Free ions are required in certain concentrations to make your nervous system work (Calcium, sodium, potassium, etc.). Electrolyte imbalances can result from exercising strenuously and not replenishing them (which is why marathon runners don't drink straight water, but have fluids that replace electrolytes). Imbalances can also result from vomiting/diarrhea especially in children (hence the use of Pedialyte in such cases instead of water in dehydrated kids when they are sick). Excess water, usually drunk really quickly, will also result in an imbalance which can kill you. I believe the woman involved drank 8 liters of water in less than two hours. Result - her electrolyte concentrations were thrown off, her nervous system shut down, and her heart didn't pump anymore (too few electrolytes in her system to maintain the chemical reactions required to keep her heart beating). Preexisting medical conditions can make you more apt to have electrolyte imbalances, such as kidney disease, so less water is required to dilute your necessary electrolytes to the point of creating a crisis.
Personally, I think that the term "water intoxication" should be changed, as most people equate "intoxicated" with "drunk" or "impaired", which is not the case. Poor woman...

Tealeaf
01-20-2007, 07:25 AM
I've always been pretty vocal about my disagreement with the prepetuation of the "drink lots and lots of water to lose weight" myth. I've always thought that drinking lots of water is great if one wants to, but the myth is harmful because it leads people who are trying to lose weight to believe that they are being "bad" if they don't choke down whatever arbritary number they been led to believe is "right". The process of losing weight is hard enough with added, unecessary stress being factored in.

I never thought of the possibility of water intoxication, though. I just thought that one had to do something just flat out nuts (or be the victim of an assult) for that to happen. Kaplods post, in hindsight, makes sense to me now. I just hope that the myth doesn't lead to anyone flat out dying.

JayEll
01-20-2007, 07:52 AM
I had always heard that drinking *enough* water (not 'lots and lots') is important when following a diet plan because the burning of fats by the body produces byproducts that need to be eliminated--primarily these are ketones.

Most people don't drink enough water, whether or not they count caffeinated beverages. I get kidney stones because of years of not drinking enough water (plus probably a hereditary tendency, since my brother and niece also get them).

I drink 64 to 80 ounces of water in a day when I'm doing well, because I don't like drinking water. That's a little past 2 quarts, and it is what my kidney dr. recommended. He told me to count other beverages as extra.

Jay

RememberHowToSmile
01-20-2007, 12:10 PM
Hmmm I know I drink a lot of water (3-4 liters a day) but I do it over the entire course of the day not in one sitting.

The radio station was terriable for what they did. I can't believe their producers (and the stations lawyers) let them do this. It is so irresponsible. ABC News reported yesterday (i think) that the sherif is investigating if they can press charges for manslaughter because 1. the station was made aware at the begining of the contest the dangers of drinking too much water, at that point the could have cancelled the contest and the contestants would have been ok and ignored the risk. 2. The woman you died commented while she was on the air that she was having head pain and they should have forced her to resign from the contest at that point and had her seek medical attention.

Additional I'm sure the family will have a large civil claim against the station adn the DJ because of the same reasons.

kaplods
01-20-2007, 02:27 PM
My mother's kidney doctor called it "water poisoning" which does sound more dangerous than water intoxication, though intoxication, technically means "poisoning."

Mom is still on fluid restriction of about 2 quarts, and possibly will be for the rest of her life. We're still not sure whether the kidney damage done was permanent, as her kidney function has improved but has not yet completely returned to normal.

It was on the news last night, that the local authorities in the radio station case are considering filing criminal charges.