After a hard workout, many of us make the mistake of drinking one gallon of cold water at a time to help our thirst. However, due to high sweating, the intake of electrolyte-poor water will lead to dilution of blood which can cause coma or death in severe cases.
How does salt deficiency develop?
The regulation of salt and fluid balance in the body is of paramount importance in the supply of basic organ functions. Therefore, significant differences in salt and water management have serious consequences.
What does water poisoning mean?
During intense movement - especially in warm weather - with sweating, the body will lose a large amount of fluid and, in its proportions, even greater amounts of salt. With powerful excercise, the amount of sweat can reach up to 2 liters per hour with up to 2 grams of sodium loss (the recommended daily sodium intake is 1.2 grams for an adult, 3 grams of table salt contains this amount).
What happens in the body during water poisoning?
In water poisoning, due to the decreased sodium content of the blood, many cells get damaged in the body. Sodium is an ion in the body that is largely in the extracellular space (such as blood) and plays an important role in keeping the water within the veins. With reduced sodium levels, more water can flow into the cells, causing them to swell (become edematous) and lead to damage to organs in the long term. The degree of swelling of an organ is determined by the structure of the given organ. Early and severe symptoms are the most responsible for swelling of the brain tissue because in the closed skull, the brain can only expand to a limited extent and it increases the pressure inside the skull to a great extent that can lead to death.
Symptoms of water poisoning are often confused by athletes with signs of dehydration – drinking more water in this case may exasperate symptoms such as nausea, irritability, fidget, muscle cramp, altered behavior. In severe cases: epileptiform convulsions, unconsciousness, coma, and eventually death.
How much water can I drink after training?
It is not possible to determine exactly how much water can cause water poisoning because it depends on the body's condition and the work load. It is important for everyone to know his/her water need which is also indicated by good mood after doing regular exercises. With little sweating or short training, we do not have to worry about water poisoning.
Salt shortage - prevention
Drink mineral-salt drinks during intensive long-term training. Delicious, raspberry-flavored multivitamin powders in stores contain vitamins and minerals. Such drinks can be made by ourselves (for example, mixing juice + water + salt ... although this is not tasty). In addition, you can consume more heavily salted foods before training, helping to prevent salt shortage.
When you notice the initial symptoms mentioned above, you should consume drink with a high electrolyte content which can even be salted water. Consuming salted meals is also recommended if you do not like drinks like that or you have no access to it. In severe cases, medical help is required that can, by chance, settle the condition with intravenous salt supplementation.