Also known as water poisoning, water coma results from intoxication due to a disruption of brain function caused by drinking too much water.
Doing so increases the amount of water in the blood. This can dilute the electrolytes, especially sodium, in the blood.
If sodium levels fall below 135 millimoles per liter (mmol/l), doctors refer to the issue as hyponatremia, and may be fatal.
Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder — research suggests that approximately 1.7% of people in the United States have the condition. It is more prevalent among people with.
As the condition worsens, individuals may experience symptoms, such as:
• muscle twitches
Sodium helps maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. When sodium levels drop due to excessive water consumption, fluids travel from the outside to the inside of cells, causing them to swell.
When this happens to brain cells, it can be dangerous and even life threatening.
Bottom line: Water intoxication results from drinking too much water. Recovery from overhydration is typically quick, with the symptoms usually subsiding within a few hours of reducing fluid intake. Recovery time from overhydration does vary depending on the person’s height, weight, underlying health conditions, and amount of water consumed.