Water is an essential element of life, it's the story of our lives.

But contrary to popular belief, there can be such a thing as drinking too much water which can prove detrimental and even fatal as in the case of athletes.

Over hydration, much like dehydration can be a major problem causing the brain to swell if left unchecked for a long period of time.

This is according to Andy Blow, co-founder and Sports Scientist at Precision Hydration and a Red Bull High Performance partner.

Blow says over hydration "can be especially problematic if athletes drink excessive amounts of low sodium fluids over several hours, usually immediately before and during an event and end up diluting the levels of sodium in their blood"

He further adds that "if it goes unchecked, this can result in hyponatremia, a potentially deadly condition where the brain swells due to having to absorb excess fluid from the blood."

Generally, hyponatremia (also called water intoxication) doesn’t usually happen to healthy young people, but athletes taking in a lot of water in a short period of time run a high risk.

According to MSN Health&Fitness, athletes competing for hours at a time, especially in the summer heat tend to drink way more than they need, throwing their sodium levels off and creating a big problem.

Without enough sodium to regulate fluid levels, the excess water seeps into the cells and causes swelling. When that swelling gets to your brain you need to seek immediate medical help, doctors can reduce swelling using salt water.

So how can athletes avoid getting into this bind? According to Blow, the best way to avoid this, is simply to drink when you’re thirsty.

If you're getting ready for a fitness event or an intense training session you can increase your fluid intake slightly and start the day before.