For 'Ironman' Athletes, Study Shows Danger of Too Much Water

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Mar 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Long-distance triathletes who splash too many H2O during foe might finish adult with dangerously low blood sodium levels, new investigate warns.

Researchers in Germany who tested scarcely 1,100 competitors in a annual Ironman European Championships found some-more than 10 percent had grown this condition — called hyponatremia.

In a many vicious form, hyponatremia can be life-threatening, experts say.

“Hyponatremia among athletes is not a new issue,” pronounced investigate co-author Dr. Stefan Braunecker, of a dialect of anesthesiology and complete caring medicine during University Hospital of Cologne. But a 2015 genocide of an contestant who grown hyponatremia during an Ironman foe underscores a “still obligatory significance of a topic,” he added.

The condition occurs in a “considerable percentage” of long-distance triathletes, Braunecker and his colleagues pronounced in a Mar 10 emanate of a New England Journal of Medicine.

A thespian dilution of sodium (salt) causes an athlete’s inner H2O law to go out of whack. Cellular flourishing ensues, mostly accompanied by nausea, headache, a dump in blood vigour and energy, weakness, and even seizures, according to a National Kidney Foundation.

For this study, a authors tracked hyponatremia cases among scarcely 1,100 triathletes who participated in a annual Ironman European Championships between 2005 and 2013. More than 900 were men.

The foe includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike float and a 26.2-mile run.

Racers took about 10 to 15 hours, on average, to finish, and blood samples were collected within 20 mins of completion.

The investigators found that 115 athletes had grown hyponatremia. Seventeen cases were deemed vicious and 3 critical. These commentary led a authors to interpretation that hyponatremia is a poignant and vicious health regard among triathletes.

The top risk for hyponatremia was among womanlike athletes and/or those who took partially longer to finish a competition, a investigate group found.

Some marathon runners also rise hyponatremia, Braunecker said. A prior investigate found that 12 to 13 percent of marathon participants had a condition, a authors noted.

“Marathon runners do a ‘short’ run of only 2.5 to 3 hours, and do not devise their nourishment as many as triathletes do,” explained Braunecker.

The importance triathletes place on creation certain their caloric intake will means them by a foe appears to strive “a controlling influence” on sodium levels during competition, he said.

But both marathoners and Ironman participants onslaught with impassioned fatigue, alongside a proxy inability to reliably sign loyal thirst. The result: “Amateur athletes tend to overreach their H2O necessity and over-drink,” Braunecker said.

He suggested that foe organizers offer athletes pre-competition information programs on a subject. Also, on-site puncture physicians should be prepared to shade for a condition and provide it, he said.

Athletes, meanwhile, should rigorously devise out their nutritive needs in advance, creation certain to devour beverages that enclose increasing sodium levels, he suggested. Sodium tablets and measuring for H2O detriment while training can also be helpful, he added.

But Dr. Lewis Maharam, authority of a house of governors for a International Marathon Medical Directors Association, pronounced that as reserve precautions go, meal-planning comes in a apart second to simply listening to your possess body.

“The large problem with all a marathons and Ironman competitions is that sponsors of fluids and electrolyte drinks theatre liquid stops really tighten together, roughly each mile,” Maharam explained.

“Inexperienced runners or Ironman athletes see these tables and think, ‘Oh . . . we should drink,'” he said. “But mostly that’s not a case. In fact, it’s been shown that if an contestant indeed stops and drinks during all these stops, they will for certain turn hyponatremic by a finish of a race.”

His advice? “We tell a athletes to splash for thirst,” pronounced Maharam. “It’s a really best approach to revoke risk.”

The idea that by a time you’re parched you’re already droughty is an aged wives’ tale, he added. “Thirst is a comprehensive best approach to establish how many to drink.”

More information

There’s some-more on hyponatremia during a National Kidney Foundation.