Over hydration problems?

by - Thursday, September 24, 2009

When I was home in Allentown last weekend for the PDR, my mom and I got to talking about our race day hydration strategies. Hers is to stop at water stations when she needs to, but she never stops at every single one during a race.

My plan on the other hand is to take water and Gatorade (if offered) at every station and carry a bottle of water with me. Usually by the end of the race I've killed the bottle of water and had at least two or three cups at each aid station.

My mom thought that sounded a bit excessive and I have to admit, reading that it looks like a lot to be drinking.

My mom was worried that maybe I was over hydrating. Over hydration (aka water poisoning) is no joke. People die from it.

So then I started telling my mom about my normal daily drinking habits. During the work week, I keep a 33 oz bottle of water at my desk, that I fill up from our water cooler three times during the day. So that's 99 oz of water I'm drinking between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. When I get home from work my water consumption tends to drop. I probably only have about three or four more glasses, which I'd guess average out to about an additional 24 to 40 oz.

So on an average day, I'm drinking anywhere from 123 to 139 oz. of water per day. The average recommend amount that most normal people don't even drink is 64 oz. I'm about doubling that.

Is it possible that I'm drinking too much water during the day? I really think I'm only drinking when I'm thirsty.

Excess thirst can be a big indicator of Type II diabetes, and if you've been reading me long enough, you know last summer some of my bloodwork showed insanely high levels of glucose in my blood. However, when my doctor sent me for a re-test the levels came back completely normal.

I don't fit any of the normal indicators for your typical Type II diabetes patient. I'm not an overweight, older American, who eats like crap. I'm an active, fit 23-year-old, at a healthy weight, with a healthy diet, who happens to drink a ton of water because I'm thirsty a lot.

So what does it all mean people? Frankly, I have no clue. I'm not too keen on getting bloodwork done again because of my problems with needles. The diabetes test itself is a pretty grueling and unpleasant experience, that I barely managed to avoid last summer. It involves spending a day drinking nasty sugary solutions and getting your blood drawn multiple times at different intervals to test for tolerance of sugar in the blood.

Do you all think I drink too much? Or am I drinking an OK amount for how active I normally am?

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  1. I drink about the same as you, 3 or so liters (sometimes more, eek!). My water bottle is 900 ml and I refill it several times a day. I think you can only over-hydrate if you're drinking that much at one time, not spaced throughout the day. Let me know if you hear otherwise... :)

  2. My recommended daily intake is like 95-120 oz per day. K? but when I exercise, I drink 24 oz of fluid per hour, and then some if its hot. If its cool out, then I will cut back on that... You should have to pee every 2 hours or so when you are running/biking.

    The key thing with water poisoning is to not dilute your sodium. As long as you are getting enough salt into your system (and not out, like sweating), then you will be fine.

  3. The only downside with drinking so much during the race is having to stop and use the port o potties. One thing to note is that the recommended amounts are just generalities. Each person has his/her own comfort levels. How do you function when you drink less water?

  4. Most water poisoning happens when you drink a lot of water at once without consuming enough salt to keep your levels regulated. That much water spread out over a day coupled with a healthy/normal diet should leave you fine.

  5. Do you all think I drink too much?

    Yes. You made a TOTAL @$$ of yourself at the Office Christmas party and I personally think you need an intervention ... where we can all tell you how much we love and value you as a person then, after that, spend a couple hours telling you what a useless and embarrassing drunk you are.

    O, wait.

    You meant too much water.

    Never mind.

    (But you did xerox your @$$ at the Xmas party and at some point you should deal with that behavior. What I mean is, next time, xerox it on the color copier.)

  6. Glaven also wants you to send him a copy of your color xerox'd ass.

    As a bigger dude (6'1, 200 lbs) i have to take in more water. but it's about as much as you do, i've had some diabetes concerns for some time now just because i drink so much water. but it always comes up clean. during the marathon, i ended up with dehydration because i didn't take in as much water and electrolytes as i needed to. i know i need one bottle of gatorade and one bottle of water per hour of race time. that's more than i can get at the aide stations. so i always take longer races and training runs with the camelbak. rock on.

    know your hydration levels and as long as it works for you let it work for you. if i lost some weight i'm sure i would be able to cut down on my needs. but whatever.

  7. Wow, that's a lot of water!! I thought I drank a lot, haha!

  8. I drink A LOT Of water during the day...but not so much when I run. I don't like to feel it all sloshy in my tummy. If you have been drinking that much water and aren't getting light headed during your runs you aren't overhydrating you just require more water

  9. Hi Jess! Remember me? :) It's Joan from the YDR. Just checked in the follow your racing adventures.

    One thing you might consider is having your dr. test you for some autoimmune conditions. I have something called Sjogren's Syndrome, in which the body essentially attacks its own moisture-producing glands. As a result, I don't have enough fluid, and it causes everything from dry eyes to a dry mouth to kidney infections and more.

    At any rate, I mention this because I drink anywhere from 3 to 4 liters a day. Mostly water, but some diet soda, too. When you said how much you drink, if you do that NOT just when you're active - like, during your work day, too - it really made me think of my situation.

    (I drink even more when I'm active, and I have to be very careful. Because of how drastic of a case I have, and it can vary from person to person, I don't sweat - PERIOD. Sounds good till you realize how much that keeps your body from overheating. So, I have to drink TONS while I'm active - usually about a liter every half-hour - to make sure I have enough moisture to sweat at least a little, keep me cool.

    Fun huH? :)

  10. I drink close to 100 oz of water a day. I think for active people that's normal.

  11. I drink a lot of water during the day, but to me, what you're drinking is A LOT. They say you should drink half your weight in ounces and then a bit more if you are working out for an hour or more. I don't know if my opinion or thought is of any help though.

  12. i'm not too good at every-day hydration, but i do take a cup at every water station. i usually rotate water at one stop, gatorade at the next. if it's really hot out, i'll take both at some stops. no scientific testing behind my method of every-other, i guess just throws in some variety to keep me on my toes. ...sorta. if it's not hot/humid, i would think both drinks at each stop may be a little much. but, it's your body and you know what works for you! i certainly hope you don't have any health issues related to drinking/being thirsty!

  13. Are you going to the Clemson game on Saturday?? I'm heading down to MD for the day!