When one American mother diluted her baby's formula with water to make it last longer, she had no idea it would lead to a life-threatening situation.
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Rebecca Fox: In difficult financial times it’s not uncommon for people to cut corners like going without certain foods. But when one American mother diluted her baby’s formula with water to make it last longer, she had no idea would lead to a life threatening situation. ICYou’s medical editor Dr. P. Mona Khanna joined us now with an explanation and the warning. And Dr. Mona it seems pretty harm was to add some water to baby formula, where is the danger? P. Mona Khanna: It really does seem harm was unfortunately like you said in these economic times people are looking at every angle possible to try to save money. That’s not the right way to do it, when we talk about baby formula we are talking about water, we have also to talk about sodium because and sodium goes hand and hand. That sodium is and electrolyte, it’s stand on our body’s it helps maintain our chemical balance, it helps make sure the chemical reactions that are going on in our body all the time function appropriately and make sure that our nerves and function properly. When we drink too much water that level of sodium drops dramatically and affects the other electrolytes in our body such as calcium, such as magnesium, such as chloride, such as potassium, when that happens and the sodium drops dramatically you enter a condition called Hyponatremia. This is when body tissues start to swell including the brain and that’s when you get into your real danger when the body tissues are swelling. Now, many of us have heard about the dangers of too much sodium, in facts people with high blood pressure always being told to decrease there salt intake because that’s what’s found in salt, the sodium, it that can lead to high blood pressure. Too literal sodium however is the condition that is not very well known and to drops to the amount that you are endanger then that is called Water Intoxication (IE). Your water balance is out weighing your sodium balance creating an imbalance in your system. Rebecca Fox: Is there a safe amount of water we can add to baby formula without causing any problems? P. Mona Khanna: You know the example that you just gave about the American mother, what happen is she used four scopes of formula added to water. When you shouldn’t use six scopes of formula, now it phase value you think well four and six that’s not a lot of difference. The problem is at these formulas while they’re very expensive, they are actually manufactured with very, very specific instructions on using a certain amount of water to maintain nutritional balance other nutrients even calories that a growing baby will need to believe it or not any amount of dilution is going to be dangerous. The short term effects are what we’re talking about water intoxication with the drop and the sodium level. The longer effects could be malnutrition. Rebecca Fox: What are the symptoms of water intoxication and what we do if we suspect someone has it? P. Mona Khanna: Well as I mentioned earlier the first thing is what’s going on inside your body. When your water level goes up your sodium water goes down you have immediate swelling of body tissues. Now, the place it this is the most dangerous of course is the brain and will talk about that in a second. You can also can have an irregular heartbeat because it affects all of the different electrolytes in your body. You also can develop fluid in your lungs, now the fluid in your lungs can lead to shortness of breath and breathing problems, the heart problems can be irregular heartbeat including all progressing all the way to having a heart attack and the swelling of the brain and other tissues can lead to a very dangerous condition called Seizures. And seizures are something that people with epilepsy are risk of as well. Now, when you get to the level of seizures you that is really affected the brain and if nothing is done that person can progress to coma and then death. So, when you get to the seizure level you know that some harm really, really has been