Skip to comments.Woman drinks so much water she dies
Posted on 01/14/2007 6:05:25 AM PST by mfnorman
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) -- A woman who competed in a radio station's contest to see how much water she could drink without going to the bathroom died of water intoxication, the coroner's office said Saturday.
Jennifer Strange, 28, was found dead Friday in her suburban Rancho Cordova home hours after taking part in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest in which KDND 107.9 promised a Nintendo Wii video game system for the winner.
"She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad," said Laura Rios, one of Strange's co-workers at Radiological Associates of Sacramento. "She was crying, and that was the last that anyone had heard from her."
It was not immediately known how much water Strange consumed.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
This is Strange.
I read about it once but the article said it was extremely rare.
Most people would call that "drowning"...
I have heard of it. I was helping a former roomate do a paper on Marijuanna. During my searches for marijuanna overdoses, I found numerous cases of water intoxication resulting in death (overdosing on water).
"Hyponatremia is a condition known as "water intoxication." It is the opposite of dehydration, and is often associated with long distance events like running and cycling. Moreover, its not an unusual problem, and you can develop it in a few hours.
As you consume large amounts of water over the course of a day, blood plasma (the liquid part of blood) increases thereby diluting the salt content of the blood. At the same time, your body also loses salt by sweating. Consequently, the amount of electrolytes available to your body tissues decreases over time to a point where that loss interferes with brain, heart, and muscle function! You have to replace these electrolytes! They're essential to the normal electro-chemical operation of your nervous system."
It's called hyponatremia - read on if you'd like:
Body fluids contain electrolytes (particularly sodium compounds, such as sodium chloride) in concentrations that must be held within very narrow limits. Water enters the body orally or intravenously and leaves the body primarily in the urine and in sweat. If water enters the body more quickly than it can be removed, body fluids are diluted and a potentially dangerous shift in electrolyte balance occurs.
Most water intoxication is caused by hyponatremia, an overdilution of sodium in the blood plasma, which in turn causes an osmotic shift of water from extracellular fluid (outside of cells) to intracellular fluid (within cells). The cells swell as a result of changes in osmotic pressure and may cease to function. When this occurs in the cells of the central nervous system and brain, water intoxication is the result. Additionally, many other cells in the body may undergo cytolysis, wherein cell membranes that are unable to stand abnormal osmotic pressures rupture, killing the cells. Initial symptoms typically include light-headedness, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache and/or malaise. Plasma sodium levels below 100 mmol/L (2.3g/L) frequently result in cerebral edema, seizures, coma, and death within a few hours of drinking the excess water. As with alcohol poisoning, the progression from mild to severe symptoms may occur rapidly as the water continues to enter the body from the stomach or intravenously.
A person with two healthy kidneys can excrete about 1.5 litres of water per hour at maximum filtration (other studies find the limit to be as little as 0.9L/h ). Consuming as little as 1.8 litres of water in a single sitting may prove fatal for a person adhering to a low-sodium diet, or 3 litres for a person on a normal diet. However, this must be modulated by potential water losses via other routes. For example, a person who is perspiring heavily may lose 1 L/h of water through perspiration alone, thereby raising the threshold for water intoxication. The problem is further complicated by the amount of electrolytes lost in urine or sweat, which is variable within a range controlled by the body's regulatory mechanisms. Water intoxication can be prevented by consuming water that is isotonic with water losses, but the exact concentration of electrolytes required is difficult to determine and evolves over time, and the greater the time period involved, the smaller the disparity that may suffice to produce electrolyte imbalance and water intoxication.
I see it from time to time in our ICU....certain psych patients get polydypsia(the need to drink too much water) from the meds they take as the meds tend to be drying of their mouths. They become water overloaded and need to be gently diuresed while maintaining their electrolyte balances.
Yup, it's rare, but a known concern for long distance marathoners and "ultra" runners.
Greed triumphs again.
Now I suppose her family will sue the radio station.
Not as rare as the article thinks. Read up on hyponatremia.
There was a woman who died of this 10 or 15 years ago. She became a compulsive water-drinker. She got to where she drank so much that her kidneys could no longer rid her body of the excess fluid. It was news at the time.
Water intoxication (also known as hyperhydration or water poisoning) is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside of safe limits by a very rapid intake of water.
It's time to introduce legislation making water illegal to own or possess. It's extremely addicting.
The hospitals treat 3 or 4 cases of this every year after the marithon they hold here.
"[The coroner said] he could recall just two other cases of fatal water intoxication in Sacramento in the past five years. In one of the cases, a woman committed suicide by drinking too much water from a hose...."
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