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Br J Sports Med. 2004 Aug;38(4):E16.

The dipsomania of great distance: water intoxication in an Ironman triathlete.

Author information

1
UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. tdnoakes@sports.uct.ac.za

Abstract

Of 371 athletes (62% of all finishers) whose weights were measured before and after the 226 km South African Ironman Triathlon, the athlete who gained the most weight (3.6 kg) during the race was the only competitor to develop symptomatic hyponatraemia. During recovery, he excreted an excess of 4.6 litres of urine. This case report again confirms that symptomatic hyponatraemia is caused by considerable fluid overload independent of appreciable NaCl losses. Hence prevention of the condition requires that athletes be warned not to drink excessively large volumes of fluid (dipsomania) during very prolonged exercise. This case report also shows that there is a delayed diuresis in this condition and that it is not caused by renal failure.

PMID:
15273209
PMCID:
PMC1724876
DOI:
10.1136/bjsm.2002.004614
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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