With summer here, I am often being told to up my water intake. Is it possible to be consuming more water than needed?

With the summer heat upon us, it is normal to constantly quench your thirst. But if you are constantly refilling your bottle of water, you may be consuming too much of it. Many health journals have reported that constantly adding water to the body could result in low sodium levels and cause cells to swell. Water intoxication or hyponatremia occurs when you drink excessive water at a rate faster than the kidneys can process it, causing the water to end up in your cells. While the body's cells are designed to handle swelling to a degree, the brain's cells are not and can cause pressure to build up in your head. Some symptoms of overhydration can include breathlessness, headaches, hypertension, confusion, fatigue, or drowsiness. In severe instances, it could lead to brain damage or coma. Therefore, even though relatively rare, drinking too much water could potentially be life-threatening.

I have been experiencing a few symptoms that point towards thyroid disorder. What are the tests I need to do to check this?

You should include the following thyroid blood work in your annual checkup:

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone:

For some, the TSH level maintained around 2 mIU/L is favourable while over 4 mIU/L is abnormal; in some cases, 3-3.5 may indicate problems. That means, you may show the symptoms but have TSH below 4 mIU/L. This is why a holistic approach is needed to identify and treat thyroid issues.

T3 & T4:

Normal ranges for T4 is usually between 58 and 151 nmol/L, and for T3 between 1.3 and 3.1 nmol/L. You may have T3 and T4 in ‘normal’ ranges but still have thyroid malfunction symptoms. That is because normal ranges are based on the values of a majority of the population.

Thyroid anti-bodies, TPO antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies:

These tests are important to rule out the autoimmune type of thyroid abnormality. The TSH, T3, T4 could be normal but you may have thyroid antibodies due to which you could be suffering from hypothyroid symptoms. This is because thyroid function is dependent on multiple factors and all of them need to be evaluated for a proper diagnosis.

Thyroid ultrasound:

Sonography can give you a clear picture of your thyroid gland. Any nodules/cysts present in the thyroid gland that lead to increase in TSH can be detected in an ultrasound image.