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Drinking excessive water / water overdose

We always been advised to drink more water, but be extra careful not to drink too much as it could lead to death or blindness. There were two cases of excessive water drinking; one British Man dies of water overdose after drinking 17 pints in eight hours to soothe sore gums and another Taiwanese lady loses sight after drinking too much water.

Man dies of water overdose after drinking 17 pints in eight hours to soothe sore gums

A man died from drinking vast amounts of cold water to relieve painful gums.

Andrew Thornton, 44, � overloaded� his body after drinking ten litres � more than 17 pints � in eight hours.

He had also been drinking at a similar rate for the previous two days as it helped to numb his mouth, an inquest heard.

The divorcee, who played football regularly and was physically active in his job as a warehouseman, thought he was being sensible by refusing to take painkillers for gum disease.

He was taken to hospital last December after collapsing at the home he shared with his mother Alice, 65, and her partner in Bradford.

Doctors initially thought he was drunk because he was staggering and slurring his words.

However his symptoms were caused by swelling in the brain brought on by excess fluid.

Doctors put salt back into his body to counter the effects of his water intake, but the following day he had a fatal heart attack.

Pathologist Dr Alan Padwell told the Halifax inquest: �He claimed drinking water relieved the problems with gum trouble, though he vomited a lot afterwards.

�He had been drinking an awful lot of water and vomiting. He had overloaded with water.

�Your body tells you how much you need. Eat and drink normally and your body will regulate itself.

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Woman loses sight after drinking too much water

SHE drank 7 litres of water a day to 'detoxify and reduce her blood pressure'.

Thinking that the more water she drank, the better it would be, she continued her habit and this went on for three months.

But last month, this 26-year-old Taiwanese woman suddenly fainted at home. When she regained consciousness a few days later, she was blind, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.

Doctors had said that the woman's condition is known as 'chronic water intoxication'.

The amount of water she drank daily is more than three times the recommended daily consumption for sedentary adults.

Dr Jiang Shou Shan, who treated her, told Apple Daily Taiwan that his patient had no psychological illness nor any other health problems, except that her blood pressure was 'on the high side'.

She was not named in the report.

Dr Jiang said: 'She mistakenly believes that the more water she drinks, the more she can decrease her blood pressure.

'Hence, for three months, she made herself drink 7 litres of water a day.'

Dr Jiang added that initially, the woman would keep running to the toilet. But after some time, it led to water intoxication.

Too much water consumed causes hyponatremia, a condition where there is insufficient sodium in the blood.


As a result, the excess water had to be absorbed by her body cells. Her brain cells swelled after taking in the water, which led to increased pressure in her brain.

Dr Jiang explained that the pressure caused bleeding in her occipital lobe. It is the visual processing centre of the brain which contains most of the visual cortex.

Said Dr Jiang: 'The sodium in our blood maintains our cell metabolism rate. But once you drink too much water, the sodium ions will decrease, causing the brain cells to swell.

'This will cause pressure and lead to bleeding.'

Shin Min Daily News quoted a doctor as saying that drinking too much water can be fatal.

The doctor, from Raffles Hospital, said that our body is constantly losing water through sweat, urination, defecation or exhaled breath, among others.

'Replacing this 'lost water' is essential, but rehydration can be overdone, leading to fatal water overdose,' said the doctor.

According to doctors, the symptoms of water intoxication include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation.

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