Drinking Too Much Water - Jennifer Strange died from drinking too much water. The fact she drank it during a contest to win a Nintendo Wii video game system -- "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" -- made her death especially tragic...and newsworthy.
How could you die from drinking water?
Basic physiology and osmosis. The kidneys can only process so much water over a given time. If you drink more water than the kidneys can process, your blood dilutes. The diluted blood creates an imbalance (more salt in the surrounding cells than in the blood). To relieve that imbalance, water from the blood starts entering the salty cells. This causes the cells to swell.
Some cells and organs handle the swelling better than others. Unfortunately, skull-encased brain isn't one of them. As the brain swells, pressure builds and key portions of the brain that control breathing and other vital function begin to shut down and you die.
How much water does it take? According to some doctors, several liters in a single sitting can do it, but much depends on how well your kidneys are functioning. During the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest, Jennifer Strange drank of water. Within hours, the 28 year-old was dead from water intoxication.
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