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PoiPoi's avatar

What is water intoxication?

Asked by PoiPoi (274points) July 9th, 2010

I once found an article about a woman at a radio station, in a water drinking contest, to win a Wii for her kids. They said she died from water intoxication. Is that possible? How can you get intoxicated by drinking too much water?

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6 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Yes. Water intoxication (hyponatremia) is fatal because it disrupts the ratio of water to electrolytes in your body. Many cellular processes depend on an ionic concentration gradient, and having too much water in your body dilutes this gradient so that (1) your cells can no longer function properly and (2) water enters the cell too rapidly, which can cause it to swell or burst.

JLeslie's avatar

Very possible. Comes from drinking too much liquid in a short period of time. Your kidneys cannot flush out the water fast enough your tissues flood and your electrolytes get whacked (which can lead to heart arythmia and heart attack) and you can die. Looks like some people have provided some links above.

rooeytoo's avatar

A friend of mine just had a close call with her dog, they were swimming and apparently the dog either accidentally swallowed or actually drank so much water it was overcome with water intoxication. Thankfully they became aware of it in time and the dog survived with numerous iv’s and other treatment.

I remember that incident with the Wii, I think it actually took place in Australia???

Trance24's avatar

Basically it is when you over hydrate yourself and dilute your salt levels severely which are also necessary for you to live. So, then the brain swells thus killing you. You quite literally drop dead.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@rooeytoo I think it was in California. The contest was called “Hold your wee for a Wii.” Idiot radio station.

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