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What is hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia (also called water intoxication), is the result too much fluid in your body for the amount of sodium that is available. Your body protects the concentration of sodium in your blood, always keeping it within a narrow range. In extreme circumstances, if you drink excessive amounts of plain water it causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood and your body can’t correct it fast enough. This is most common at endurance events, when a participant sweats a lot, and then puts a large volume of water back in (without sodium). The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration and include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech, and confusion. You can prevent hyponatremia by drinking a sports drink instead of water for activity lasting longer than one hour, or using electrolyte tablets in your water.

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