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Name: Morse
Status: Other
Age: 20s
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Question:
Hello,

I have searched the archives and could not find the specific answer to the following question: If a person is stranded in the ocean and is already severely dehydrated, what specific would happen to the body if they were to drink from the salty ocean water? Do organs shut down? Does the heart burst? I was looking specifically in order. Thank you for your time.



Replies:
The main problem will be the inability for the body to maintain the proper somotic pressure in all the cells of the body. As The person drinks salt water it just exacerbates a bad situation by causing the body to have an even greater burden of eliminating salts (sea water has a variety of different salts) . Depending on the person various organs might fail first...but nothing as dramatic as a "bursting heart" will occur. It is far more likely that among other things the problems of brain cells being in a hypertonic environment would effect the brain and its regulation of critical functions. Eventually the person will go into irreversible shock and the single final reason for death would probably be heart failure.

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