Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's Talk Medical Conditions...

Hyponatremia - do you know what it is?
According to the Mayo Clinic website “hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low.”
Over the summer, while I was on a blogging hiatus, a local man died from this while canoeing in the Texas Water Safari competition. See full story here. That was the first time I had ever heard of this condition.
You are probably wondering why I am sharing this with you, how is this condition releveant to you?
Well, one possible cause of hyponatremia can be drinking too much water during exercise causing the sodium in your body to become diluted. Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia are nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, loss of energy, fatigue, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps, seizures, unconsciousness or coma. Yikes! According to the Mayo Clinic, “In acute hyponatremia, sodium levels drop rapidly — resulting in potentially dangerous effects, such as rapid brain swelling, which can result in coma and death.”
One of the risk factors to hyponatremia is intensive physical activity such as marathons, ultra marathons, or triathlons.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Hyponatremia is something you should understand if you are participating in intense physical activities. Especially since hyponatremia and dehydration have some similar symptoms, like headache, confusion and weakness.
Some things to keep in mind during activity- limit your water intake to a liter/34 oz an hour (this is about as much fluid as you will lose during that same time period) or consider drinking electrolyte enhanced beverages instead of water.
If you want to learn more about hyponatremia the Mayo Clinic website has a decent amount of info or you could always consult your physician with any questions you might have.
Water is great, don’t get me wrong, just make sure you don’t overdo it!
“The greatest wealth is health.”  ~Virgil