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Thread: Your RO system may be making you sick

  1. #11
    You'd be surprised how easily electrolytes can go out of balance with or without extenuating circumstances. I'm one of those individuals who runs on the low side of the normal range for the sodium test. Normal range is 135-145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Do any of you know what your blood sodium level is? You should know before you drink enormous quantities of water.

    One December, I came down with a cold or flu. I just wanted to sleep. I didn't really feel like eating, so I didn't, even with a lot of gentle nagging by NL. When we are ill with flu or cold, we are always told to stay hydrated. So, every couple of hours, I obliged NL by drinking a glass of water. Perfect storm...not eating (not ingesting enough sodium), lower blood sodium level anyway, drinking a lot of water and after 3 days, I was acting stranger than is normal for even me. New Years eve, NL packed me into the car and took me to the emergency unit of our local hospital. I got through the registration and admissions process, got onto a hospital bed and was, in the blink of an eye, in full hyponatremic (sometimes called water intoxication) crisis. My blood sodium was 106 (mEq/L). All the other electrolytes were wonky too. I was in a babbling coma for 17 hours, no one knew if I would live, die, would have brain damage, or be in a permanent coma. Seven days later, I was released from the Intensive Care Unit, on a strict fluid intake restriction and taking sodium tablets and had to get blood tests and check in with my nephrologist every week for a couple months.

    Yes there were extenuating circumstances in my case, but some extenuating circumstance of one kind or another is all it takes to upset the balance of electrolytes we all take for granted. I had this discussion with my nephrologist about how those of us with spinal cord injury are told to drink, drink, drink to flush the kidneys and bladder. She has just sat there, shaking her head. She says large quantities of water put an extraordinary burden on your kidneys and can actually cause kidney disease.

    Every one of us should know our blood sodium level, along with the balance of other electrolytes and we should have yearly tests, or more often if you have a kidney or sodium problem, to monitor what is going on with our blood chemistry.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    You'd be surprised how easily electrolytes can go out of balance with or without extenuating circumstances. I'm one of those individuals who runs on the low side of the normal range for the sodium test. Normal range is 135-145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Do any of you know what your blood sodium level is? You should know before you drink enormous quantities of water.

    One December, I came down with a cold or flu. I just wanted to sleep. I didn't really feel like eating, so I didn't, even with a lot of gentle nagging by NL. When we are ill with flu or cold, we are always told to stay hydrated. So, every couple of hours, I obliged NL by drinking a glass of water. Perfect storm...not eating (not ingesting enough sodium), lower blood sodium level anyway, drinking a lot of water and after 3 days, I was acting stranger than is normal for even me. New Years eve, NL packed me into the car and took me to the emergency unit of our local hospital. I got through the registration and admissions process, got onto a hospital bed and was, in the blink of an eye, in full hyponatremic (sometimes called water intoxication) crisis. My blood sodium was 106 (mEq/L). All the other electrolytes were wonky too. I was in a babbling coma for 17 hours, no one knew if I would live, die, would have brain damage, or be in a permanent coma. Seven days later, I was released from the Intensive Care Unit, on a strict fluid intake restriction and taking sodium tablets and had to get blood tests and check in with my nephrologist every week for a couple months.

    Yes there were extenuating circumstances in my case, but some extenuating circumstance of one kind or another is all it takes to upset the balance of electrolytes we all take for granted. I had this discussion with my nephrologist about how those of us with spinal cord injury are told to drink, drink, drink to flush the kidneys and bladder. She has just sat there, shaking her head. She says large quantities of water put an extraordinary burden on your kidneys and can actually cause kidney disease.

    Every one of us should know our blood sodium level, along with the balance of other electrolytes and we should have yearly tests, or more often if you have a kidney or sodium problem, to monitor what is going on with our blood chemistry.
    I totally agree. Drinking more is not necessarily better. It can make you toxic. The question is, what is an enormous quantity? For me, 1 liter in the morning is a good start. After all, that's only 2 large glasses. Then drinking more as needed through the day may bring me to 1.5 - 2 liters. Is that too much? Every time I've had blood work done the only issue has been borderline cholesterol. Everything else is either inside the normal range or better. Hence, while I don't know exactly what my blood sodium level is, it must be fine.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    I totally agree. Drinking more is not necessarily better. It can make you toxic. The question is, what is an enormous quantity? For me, 1 liter in the morning is a good start. After all, that's only 2 large glasses. Then drinking more as needed through the day may bring me to 1.5 - 2 liters. Is that too much? Every time I've had blood work done the only issue has been borderline cholesterol. Everything else is either inside the normal range or better. Hence, while I don't know exactly what my blood sodium level is, it must be fine. Unless it isn't and you just don't, as you say, really know.
    Sometimes I feel like I am writing this stuff just to write it, does anyone really read! The point I am trying to make, I guess without success, is that you need know what your blood sodium level is, what your electrolyte balance is by having blood tests at least once a year. A full metabolic blood panel is going to give you all of this information about blood sodium and the other electrolytes. And why does someone with a spinal cord injury really need to drink more water than the average AB (able bodied) person? We incessantly hear this flush...flush...flush garbage. Flushing the kidneys only puts the kidneys under an incredible burden. And you can't ignore that you, for whatever reason, may experience an electrolyte imbalance that could be deadly. There is a fluid intake from food to add to the mix of the fluids you drink. Fluid intake plus food sources should not probably exceed 3 liters for anyone and that is on the high side. I'd bet that most ABs don't consume half that much, probably much less. And an AB is going to be more active, using more body and muscle mass than any spinal cord injured.
    Last edited by gjnl; 09-12-2017 at 10:11 PM.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    Sometimes I feel like I am writing this stuff just to write it, does anyone really read! The point I am trying to make, I guess without success, is that you need know what your blood sodium level is, what your electrolyte balance is by having blood tests at least once a year. A full metabolic blood panel is going to give you all of this information about blood sodium and the other electrolytes. And why does someone with a spinal cord injury really need to drink more water than the average AB (able bodied) person? We incessantly hear this flush...flush...flush garbage. Flushing the kidneys only puts the kidneys under an incredible burden. And you can't ignore that you, for whatever reason, may experience an electrolyte imbalance that could be deadly. There is a fluid intake from food to add to the mix of the fluids you drink. Fluid intake plus food sources should not probably exceed 3 liters for anyone and that is on the high side. I'd bet that most ABs don't consume half that much, probably much less. And an AB is going to be more active, using more body and muscle mass than any spinal cord injured.
    We are in agreement. I read what you wrote and acknowledged it. Did you miss this part I wrote? -> "Every time I've had blood work done... [sodium] is either inside the normal range or better."

    Regardless, there is no hard and fast number. Water intake requirements will vary from person to person, activity, and environment. The rule of thumb is if you're thirsty, you're dehydrated. Doesn't make sense to wait until you're thirsty then drink water. It makes sense to stay ahead of the thirst. Of course, you don't want to go overboard. This isn't complicated as you're making it out to be.

  5. #15
    [QUOTE=August West;1839868]Did you miss this part I wrote? -> "Every time I've had blood work done... [sodium] is either inside the normal range or better."

    Yes, I read that, and I'm puzzled by your interpretation of your results. Either you are inside the normal ranges or your outside normal ranges. If you are "better," you are outside the normal range (higher than normal range - not good) and if you are higher than just a nominal value, that should be concerning for those tests. In other words, you can't have better results for blood tests than the normal range.

    As for water consumption, yes it is going to depend on the person to some degree. But none of us should be drinking 3-4 liters of water or more in additional to liquids obtained from foods. That isn't complicated.

    Last edited by gjnl; 09-13-2017 at 01:03 PM.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by gjnl View Post
    Yes, I read that, and I'm puzzled by your interpretation of your results. Either you are inside the normal ranges or your outside normal ranges. If you are "better," you are outside the normal range (higher than normal range - not good) and if you are higher than a nominal value, that should be concerning for those tests.
    While it is true that blood sodium being outside the nominal range is cause for concern, that is not always the case for all blood tests. For example, blood creatinine levels greater than the nominal range indicate kidneys are less efficient than nominal. Blood creatinine levels less than the nominal range indicate kidneys are more efficient than nominal. In this case, being outside the nominal range on the high side is bad but being outside the nominal range on the low side is good.

    ://www.netdoctor.co.uk/ask-the-expert/liver-kidney-and-urinary-system/a2926/what-do-low-creatinine-levels-mean/

    But we digress. My blood sodium level is in the middle of the nominal range, indicating that my water intake is not excessive. We are in agreement that people should not drink too much water. Thanks for the advice.

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