Beware The Dangers Of Hyponatremia

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Sep. 16, 2011
  • Updated Sep. 16, 2011 at 7:01 AM UTC
Drinking too much during a race can be deadly. Photo: Complete Running

A recent study suggests only drinking when thirsty.

Drinking too much during a race can be deadly. Photo: Complete Running

There’s no arguing with the fact that runners need to drink. However, too much fluid consumption can be fatal. Researchers from the Loyola University Medical Center have found in a recent study that nearly half of recreational runners may be consuming too many liquids during races.

Drinking too much fluid can dilute sodium levels in the body–a condition known as hyponatremia.

After surveying 197 runners, the study’s researchers found that over 55 percent drank water and sports drink only when thirsty. On the other hand, over 37 percent drank at pre-scheduled intervals. The balance drank as much as possible.

Hyopnatremia can affect people who run from 60 to 90 minutes.

“Slow running women are at higher risk,” said Dr. James Winger, the study’s leader. “It could be they’re simply on the course longer, or planned to drink more,” Winger said. “Establishing a pre-race hydration plan could also be a risk factor.”

Symptoms of hyponatremia vary but usually include confusion and swollen fingers.

For More: Chicago Sun Times

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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