Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marathon Runners: Beware Of Drinking Too Much Water

Date:
January 11, 2008
Source:
Methodist Hospital, Houston
Summary:
Many runners know it's important to drink plenty of water during a marathon to keep their bodies hydrated. However, drinking too much water during the course of a 26-mile race can actually kill them. The abundance of water will cause the cells to swell. Most cells can adapt to change, however, the brain cannot. When this occurs in less than 48 hours, it can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Many runners know it’s important to drink plenty of water during a marathon to keep their bodies hydrated. However, drinking too much water during the course of a 26-mile race can actually kill them.

“This condition, hyponatremia, occurs when you have low sodium in your body,” said Dr. James Muntz, internal medicine service chief with The Methodist Hospital in Houston. “When sodium levels drop in the fluids outside the cells, water will get in there and attempt to balance the concentration of salt outside the cells.”

The abundance of water will cause the cells to swell. Most cells can adapt to change, however, the brain cannot. When this occurs in less than 48 hours, it can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Symptoms of hyponatremia include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Headache.
  • Restlessness/fatigue.
  • Abnormal mental status (hallucinations, confusion, change in personality, etc.)
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Convulsions.

A few days before the race you can take steps to try and prevent hyponatremia by using sports drinks during training and increasing your salt intake, as long as you don’t have high blood pressure.

“During the marathon a good rule of thumb is to drink about one cup of fluid every 20 minutes,” Muntz said. “Drinking any more than that over the course of the race can get you into trouble.”

A recent study of runners in the 2002 Boston Marathon found that 13 percent of those who finished the race developed hyponatremia. The majority of these runners reported feeling “fine” after the race. However, if someone who feels “fine” continues to drink water because they believe the nausea and weakness they are feeling is due to dehydration, they could easily end up having a seizure and falling into a coma.

“You don’t want to drink too much during the race, but if you do, sports drinks like Gatorade that contain salt, would be better than a lot of water,” Muntz said. “If you experience any symptoms, see a physician immediately.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Methodist Hospital, Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Methodist Hospital, Houston. "Marathon Runners: Beware Of Drinking Too Much Water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109195002.htm>.
Methodist Hospital, Houston. (2008, January 11). Marathon Runners: Beware Of Drinking Too Much Water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109195002.htm
Methodist Hospital, Houston. "Marathon Runners: Beware Of Drinking Too Much Water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109195002.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins