Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Running in this Heat

Avoid Hyponatremia!

Hyponatremia is literally water poisoning. Most runners are not aware that they can drink too much water. Not only can you drink too much water, but it can also cause a very serious condition and has even caused some fatalities.

A low level of sodium in the blood causes Hyponatremia. When you sweat you lose approximately 2.25 to 3.4 grams of sodium per liter of sweat. During a race, you will average around 1 liter of sweat loss per hour. If you drink only water during your race, you will dilute your blood even more, which can result in hyponatremia. This condition is usually only a problem in activities lasting more than one hour, but can occur in shorter activities.

Hyponatremia can be a serious condition. If you believe you may be suffering from this illness, seek medical attention. Drinking sports drinks and eating salty foods can treat minor symptoms.

Aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can contribute to the development of hyponatremia. Because of the popularity of these medications among runners, this condition is becoming more prevalent, especially in the longer distances such as marathons, ultra-marathons and triathlons.

To avoid hyponatremia follow these suggestions.

· Drink sports drinks during events lasting longer than 1 hour.

· Avoid anti-inflammatory medications.

· Take in at least 1 gram of sodium per hour.

· Drink at least 6 to 12 ounces of sports drinks every 15 minutes.

· Increase you salt intake before your race.

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