Hyponatremia is the medical term for low blood sodium. Sodium is a mineral often referred to as an electrolyte. Sodium in your blood helps maintain blood pressure, helps nerve cells function, aids in muscle function and controls how much water is in and around your body’s cells. If you don’t have the correct amount of sodium your body cannot maintain a proper fluid balance.
Sodium is complicated. It is necessary, but too much sodium can increase your risk for high blood pressure. But to little sodium can lead to hyponatremia. In hyponatremia your sodium levels drop, your water levels increase and your cells began to swell. Brain cells are very sensitive to swelling. This can lead to complications that can be mild or be life-threatening.
There are two types of hyponatremia: chronic hyponatremia and acute hyponatremia.
- Chronic Hyponatremia – Sodium levels drop slowly over a couple of days with moderate symptoms.
- Acute Hyponatremia – Sodium levels drop rapidly with severe symptoms coming on without warning. Can cause brain swelling, coma or even death. Seek immediate emergency care.
Normal Blood Sodium Level = 135 to 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L)
- Hormone Imbalances
- Heart Failure
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Problems
- Medications: diuretics, antidepressants and some pain medications
- Drinking too much water.
- Addison’s Disease – Adrenal gland insufficiency
- Ecstasy – a recreational amphetamine
- Nausea with vomiting
- All Over Weakness
- Loss Of Appetite
- Loss of Consciousness: Passing Out, Fainting, Coma
- Restless & Irritable
- Muscle Cramps
- Age – The older the greater your risk.
- Medications – Certain medications like thiazide diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications.
- Marathon Participants – People who drink too much water during intense physical activities.
- Kidney Disease
- Heart Failure
- Diabetes Insipidus
- Cushing’s Syndrome
Symptoms can vary between individuals so this isn’t always easy to diagnose. Your doctor or the hospital will want to order blood and urine tests to confirm there is a sodium imbalance.
You must treat the underlying cause in order to balance sodium levels.
This could be as simple as cutting back on the amount of water you drink or drinking sports drinks during exercise or extreme sweating.
At the hospital you may need an IV solution of electrolytes and some medication to get things under control. Once your sodium levels are in the proper range you will be sent home. But in order to stop the imbalance the cause will need to be diagnosed.
Know the symptoms so you can get help from medical professionals early before things become dangerous. If your hyponatremia is sudden and severe you need emergency treatment.
When exercising or doing sweaty activities hydrate properly. You should drink only as much fluid as you are losing. Over water drinking can complicate your sodium balance. Consider drinking a sports drink that replaces the electrolytes you are using.
Treat any underlying medical conditions that could be attributing to your sodium imbalance.
Drink water but don’t over drink water. Water is vital for the health of your body. Your urine is a good indicator of dehydration or over hydration. Your urine should be pale yellow color to indicate a healthy water intake. If your urine is dark or you are urinating less than normal you could be dehydrated (which also isn’t good).
Super Lytes is a great alternative to sports drinks. These convenient pills will balance electrolytes! Super Lytes is made with natural ingredients including pink Himalayan salt.
Drinking too much water can lead to low levels of sodium! Know the signs and symptoms, low sodium can be life threatening. #HealthSurgeon