Water Intoxication


Case Study : Water Intoxication

Mika Rose Deloraine is a 34 year old women who is trying to fall pregnant. One morning she presents to her doctor with a suspected urinary tract infection. In addition to her usual antibiotics and pain killers, Mika’s doctor suggests she increase her water intake to “flush her system”. Being overzealous Mika drinks roughly 500ml every half hour resulting in hospitalisation with her diagnosis as water intoxication.

In this case study you will describe the importance of maintaining homeostasis in regards to water and electrolyte balance for optimal health. Your focus should be on the kidneys and the cardiovascular system, in particular control from the renin-angiotensin system. Secondly, you will describe what effect ingesting large quantities of water has on:

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– Fluid and electrolyte imbalances (blood tonicity).

– Renal function.

– Cardiac function (BP) including bradycardia and widened pulse pressure.

– Intracranial pressures and neurological effects of water intoxication.

By the end of this case study you should be able to:

  • Describe the anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system and its control of BP.
  • Describe the anatomy and function on fluid and electrolyte balance.
  • Describe the Renin-Angiotensin system in blood pressure regulation.
  • Describe cerebral oedema and its physiological complications on the CNS.