Overhydration, also called water excess or water intoxication, is a condition in which the body contains too much water.
Overhydration occurs when the body takes in more water than it excretes and its normal sodium level is diluted.
Infants seem to be at greater risk for developing overhydration.
Overhydration, which has been cited as a hazard of infant swimming lessons, occurs whenever a baby drinks too much water, excretes too little fluid, or consumes and retains too much water.
Overhydration is the most common electrolyte imbalance in hospitals, occurring in about 2 percent of all people.
Drinking too much water rarely causes overhydration when the body's systems are working normally.
People with heart, kidney, or liver disease are more likely to develop overhydration because their kidneys are unable to excrete water normally.
Since the brain is the organ most susceptible to overhydration, a change in behavior is usually the first symptom of water intoxication.
Symptoms of overhydration may include blurred vision, muscle cramps and twitching, paralysis on one side of the body, poor coordination, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, sudden weight gain, and weakness.
Overhydration can cause acidosis (a condition in which blood and body tissues have an abnormally high acid content), anemia, cyanosis (a condition that occurs when oxygen levels in the blood drop sharply), hemorrhage, and shock.
The brain is the organ most vulnerable to the effects of overhydration.
Overhydration is characterized by excess water both within and around the body's cells, while excess blood volume occurs when the body has too much sodium and cannot move water to reservoirs within the cells.
In cases of overhydration, symptoms of fluid accumulation do not usually occur.
Overhydration can occur alone or in conjunction with excess blood volume, and differentiating between these two conditions may be difficult.
Mild overhydration can generally be corrected by following a doctor's instructions to limit fluid intake.
Infants and the elderly seem to be at increased risk for overhydration, as are people with certain mental disorders or alcoholism.
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