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Athletes Can Avoid Deadly Drops In Blood Sodium By Drinking When Thirsty

June 29, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Athletes engaged in strenuous exercise should drink water only when thirsty to avoid a serious health problem, U.S. researchers report. Too often hikers, cyclists, runners and others drink water steadily, a practice that seriously reduces blood sodium levels, a condition known as exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), or "water intoxication." Symptoms include headache, vomiting, confusion and seizures, resulting from swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Unless treated immediately, severe EAH can be fatal. The safest way to hydrate when exercising strenuously, especially in hot weather, is to drink fluids only when thirsty.
Tamara Hew-Butler et al., "Statement of the Third International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference", Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, June 29, 2015, © Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.
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