010719 Are you at Risk for Hyponatremia? Part 1

010719 Are you at Risk for Hyponatremia? Part 1

For a long time we have been told to drink, drink, and drink more fluids to keep us well hydrated. Well it just so happens, you can, in fact, drink too much!

Pronounced hi”po-nah-tre’me-ah, it means a deficiency of sodium in the blood or salt depletion. Put more medically it “is a disorder in fluid-electrolyte balance that results in abnormally low plasma sodium concentration”. Although rare, this can be a lethal condition if left medically untreated.

If you are a “salty sweater” and are a small framed, light-bodied individual, you may be at risk before your heavier partners. A small body means it takes less fluid to dilute the extra cellular fluid. Losses of a large amount of sweat and/or salty sweat increase the rate of sodium loss in the body. Add in the extra water without sodium and the stage is set.

Drinking too much before and during prolonged exertions in a hot, humid environment contributes to the condition. Hyponatremia is a situation whereby blood concentrations of sodium fall to an abnormally low level. This precipitates a rapid and dangerous swelling of the brain that in severe cases leads to seizures, coma and finally death. The way it does it is in this manner:

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200317 Fluid replacement-Water and the body-why we need it (2/3)

200317 Fluid replacement-Water and the body-why we need it 

In the book Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (page 247), it states that a fluid loss of around 1% of body weight will increase core temperature with a disproportionate rise in heart rate. These increases in temperature causes further fluid loss and the cycle repeats itself.

Plasma volume becomes reduced when sweating causes a fluid loss of 2-3% body mass. The blood thickens, which makes the heart work harder at pumping it through out the body. As dehydration progresses and plasma volume decreases, peripheral blood flow and sweating rate are reduced and thermo regulation becomes progressively more difficult. (Page 509 reference #1)

A 5% dehydration of the body mass significantly increases rectal temperature and decreases sweating rate. There is 25-30% decrease in stroke volume from the heart that is not off set by a higher heart rate so the system output and arterial blood pressure decline. For each liter of sweat loss, the heart rate increases by about eight beats per minute, with a corresponding decrease in cardiac output. “The primary aim of fluid replacement is to maintain plasma volume so that circulation and sweating progress at optimal levels”.

In Essentials of Strength and Conditioning, it (page 247) states that at 7% body weight loss a collapse is likely. Obviously, this is a serious condition if left unchecked.

Ultimately, the strain on the circulatory system impairs the thermo regulation of the body. (Page 507 reference #1)

Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration level as it normally lags behind the body’s needs. Each adult requires from 2-3 quarts of water/fluid daily, less than that, will gradually result in a dehydrated state over a period.

Indicators of the need for more fluid in the body that are relatively simple to monitor are (Page 247 reference #2)

  • Dark yellow urine (unless excessive vitamin intake has occurred)
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Decrease times of having to urinate
  • A rapid resting heart rate
  • Muscle soreness that lingers longer than normal

Normal urine loss for an adult is about 4 times per day for a total of about 1.2 quarts. This means the elimination of 8-10 fluid ounces about 4 times per day. If a person is drinking over and above the normal requirements bathroom breaks could occur more often. If this is not the case, and you are not drinking excessively, perhaps a check for diabetes is in order.

301013 Getting enough water into your body? Try these tips.

Getting enough water into your body? Try these tips.

Water constitutes a major portion of your body, more than 2/3’s of your body’s weight is water. Our brains are made up of 95% water; our blood supply contains 82% water and our lungs 90%.

One of the first signs of mild dehydration is fatigue. At 10% dehydration, there is a noticeable decrease in your mental and physical abilities. Water needs to be there when it’s needed by the body to function efficiently. If your urine is light colored, similar to pale lemonade, you are just about right in how much water you are drinking. If, on the other hand your urine is dark, that is a sign you are not getting enough water. Some drugs cause the urine to be dark and are not a sign of dehydration.

Therefore, to be effective in all of your daily activities you must have enough water in your system and if you are not getting enough each day try a few of these tips.

• Start carrying your water around with you, in your car, on your bike/motorcycle, and on your walks or runs. Keep a water bottle with you most of the time. You don’t have to spend much money on one, just use a one liter empty juice container. If you do decide to get one then buy a stainless steel version. And keep it clean so mold doesn’t build up inside.
• Drink water with your meals rather than a high calorie drink.
• If your water doesn’t taste good get a filter, add some flavor to it with lemon, lime or orange slices. Some have found that cucumber or other fruit makes their water easier to drink.
• Instead of drinking sugar loaded junk drinks, such as pop, drink water.
• Finally, if you are a parent, be a role model for your children and drink water.

Whatever you decide to do about getting enough water into your body each day, keep it up for the long haul.