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[at-l] re: Hyponatremia - excessive water use in endurance athletes

>>Of interest is the idea that sports drinks may not
be >>protective of 
>>electrolyte abnormalities. This gets back to that
>>famous, regrettable, 
>>Gatorade flame war. I wonder if anyone here has seen
>>water intoxication on 
>>the trail or even considered the possibility?

As always, the usual disclaimer: , I am not a
professional medical person in any way, shape, or
form. I have little medical training (EMT-A course
many moons ago). My only knowledge comes from reading
and personal experience. Consult a person who really
knows what they are talkin about (like OB..who **IS**
an MD! :D)

Having said that...

I would think this condition would not affect hikers
as much as say runner, cyclists and other endurance
type atheletes who exert a lot of energy in a
(relatively) short period of time. Most hiker's have a
diet that consists of eating food that is high in
sodium for a good chunk of the day. Their body
probably has a good mix of water and salt to retain
said water w/o "flooding" the body. One of my favorite
items to eat on hikes is chips. I crave them. Based on
how many of my friends eagerly pass around my cache of
chips, I'd say they do too. :)

In my brief time in the running world (two marathons,
one double mararthon), I have noticed that I **CRAVE**
salt. I am sweating up a storm. I want pretzels, chips
and the oh-so-delcious chicken noodle soup. As with
many activities, your body tells you what it wants. I
suspect with all that sweating, I am getting rid off
too much salt in my body. The soup esp. goes down like
mana from heaven.

Many people new to long distance running make the
mistake of taking in too little water and not enough
food. Have heard stories of people suffering from
hyponatremia during events.

In the hiking world, I suspsect hyponatremia may
affect people doing extensive desert hiking (ala the
PCT) who are drinking too much water and not eating
enough (due to heat, it is common for many people to
not feel like eating), and the fringe group of hikers
who blur the line between running and hiking. [1] They
are working up a huge sweat and may or may not be
eating enough food to go with the water they are

I'll let our resident MD (and chemist PhD ) shoot
holes in the paticulars of my half-baked theories, but
i think the basics are fairly sound. :)


1. The fancy name for this "fastpacking"..I think it
is a great term for gear companies to sell stuff to
people who don't want to be "merely" backpackers. But,
that is another story/rant! 

The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched