Watering it down: Here's why you must avoid 'overhydration'

Overhydration among dialysis patients can cause edema where your feet, ankles and wrists swell up.

Published: 17th December 2020 01:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2020 01:10 AM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes  (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: It is easy to believe that more hydration is always better. Every individual is directed to drink lots of water on a daily basis. While it’s definitely a good practice, everything has two extremes. What you may not be aware of is that too much water can be harmful. Water intoxication is an existing condition in spite of how ironic it may sound. Overdoing hydration can be dangerous for your health, causing damage afflicting the routine bodily functions. Maintaining hydration levels for patients undergoing hemodialysis is an even bigger challenge. 

Signs of overhydration
Overhydration among dialysis patients can cause edema where your feet, ankles and wrists swell up. Maintaining optimal blood pressure is another challenge. Undergoing dialysis or not, do not turn a blind eye to any such signs. When left unattended, it can turn serious, or even lead to death in worst-case scenarios.

Result of Overhydration
Hyponatremia is the medical term used for such a condition. Overhydration makes it difficult for the kidneys to function normally. If not examined in the earlier days, it may lead to symptoms of heart failure, risking the patient’s life. Treatment varies depending on the severity of your condition. You will be asked to follow one or all of these solutions: 

  • IVs: Saline solutions may be injected into your body in order to heighten the salt content in your blood.
  • Medicines: Prescription of medicines to help and retain the sodium levels in your body by helping your kidneys get rid of more urine.
  • Dialysis: In severe case scenarios, you may have to support your kidneys in filtering and excretion by undergoing dialysis.

The right water diet
Managing your liquid intake in terms of both the right amount and the right time plays an important role in preventing hyponatremia. Consuming eight glasses of water per day is a generalised idea in all minds. But the normal water intake level cannot be the same for everybody as it also depends on various factors like health conditions, size, weather and physical activities.

For a dialysis patient, liquid intake has to be given utmost priority. Here’s how overhydration can be avoided:

  •     Always maintain a track of your fluid intakes.
  •     Consume water from very small cups.
  •     Eat frozen fruits and vegetables.
  •     Keep a check on salt intake.

For others: 

  •     Male: 13 glasses or 3 litres approximately.
  •     Female: Over 2 litres or 9 glasses of fluid per day. If pregnant, up to 10 glasses and a mother who is breastfeeding, 12 glasses
  • Kids and teenagers: 8 glasses of fluid daily 

Additionally, it is advisable to treat related conditions like adrenal gland insufficiency which would contribute to hyponatremia. Educating oneself about the impact of diuretic medications or any new prescriptions is important. 

(The author is consultant nephrologist, ApolloDialysis Clinics)  


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