What is water toxicity?: Woman’s family says she died after drinking too much water

MONTICELLO, Ind. — The family of a mother in Indiana says she died from drinking too much water in a short amount of time.

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The family of Ashley Summers, 35, said she died from water toxicity during the Fourth of July weekend, according to WRTV.

Her brother, Devon Miller, told the news outlet that he got a call Tuesday that said something was not right with her.

“My sister Holly called me, and she was just an absolute wreck,” he said, according to WRTV. “She’s like, ‘Ashley’s in the hospital. She has brain swelling. They don’t know what’s causing it. They don’t know what they can do to get it to go down and it’s, it’s not looking good.’” Earlier in the day, Ashley Miller was feeling dehydrated and couldn’t drink enough water.

“Someone said that she drank four bottles of water in that 20 minutes. And I mean, you know, average water bottle is, her bottle of water is like 16 ounces,” Devon Miller said, according to the news outlet. “So, that was 64 ounces that she drank in the span of 20 minutes. That’s half a gallon. That’s what you’re supposed to drink in a whole day.” She made it home but passed out and never woke up. Her doctors said she died from water toxicity.

Summers was an organ donor, her brother said according to “Good Morning America.” She was able to have “her heart, her lungs, her liver, her kidneys, and her long bone tissue,” donated to five different people.

What is water toxicity?

Water toxicity is when someone drinks too much water too quickly, WRTV reported.

Too much water in cells including brain cells causes them to swell. When your brain cells swell it creates pressure on your brain which increases high blood pressure and low heart rate, according to WebMD. Sodium levels can be affected and can lead to hyponatremia. Sodium is the source of electrolytes in the body so if the levels drop due to too much water, it can cause the cells to sweep and leads to seizures, coma, or even death.

Symptoms of overhydration could include nausea and vomiting, headache from pressure on the brain, mental state changes, drowsiness, and muscle cramps, according to WebMD.

If not caught early, water intoxication can lead to seizures or coma, according to “Good Morning America.”

Water toxicity is rare but dangerous, according to research conducted by the National Institutes of Health per “Good Morning America.”

The Mayo Clinic says men need about 15.5 cups of water a day and women need about 11.5 cups of water a day. However, everyone’s body is different.

There are a lot of benefits from drinking water including temperature regulation, cushioning your joints, and protecting sensitive tissues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Not having water leads to dehydration which can drain your energy.



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