What is low sodium?
Low sodium, medically known as hyponatremia, is a lack of balance between the water and salt (sodium) levels in your body. A correct level of sodium is important for the proper function of your muscles and nerves.
Low Sodium Spotlight
Low sodium is a common electrolyte disorder in the U.S. population. Electrolytes are important chemical substances that are present in the body, such as sodium and potassium. When dissolved in water, these substances become ions that are capable of conducting electricity. Electrolytes are critical for proper functioning of all body systems.
There are three types of hyponatremia: euvolemic, hypervolemic and hypovolemic. Euvolemic hyponatremia occurs when your body’s water content is normal but your sodium level declines. Hypervolemic hyponatremia is when water is increased relative to sodium levels. Hypovolemic hyponatremia happens when both water and sodium decrease, but more sodium is lost than water.
There are several common causes of sodium loss leading to low sodium levels, including diarrhea, excessive sweating, and vomiting. Medications that are prescribed to treat high blood pressure or fluid retention, called diuretics, can lead to low sodium levels. Kidney diseases, congestive heart failure (deterioration of the heart’s ability to pump blood), burns, cirrhosis of the liver, and the effects of cancer treatment also can bring on low sodium levels. High endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, may experience low sodium levels if fluids and electrolytes are not adequately replaced.Seek immediate medical care (call 911)
if you have serious symptoms of low sodium, such as a change in mental status (confusion or hallucinations); a change in level of consciousness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness; chest pain or pressure; convulsions; muscle spasms; muscle cramps; muscle weakness; nausea with or without vomiting; rapid heart rate (tachycardia); and vomiting.
What are the symptoms of low sodium?
Common symptoms of low sodiumYou may experience low sodium symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these low sodium symptoms can be severe:
What causes low sodium?
There are several common causes of low sodium, including diarrhea, excessive sweating, and vomiting. Medications that are prescribed to treat high blood pressure or fluid retention, called diuretics, can lead to low sodium levels.
Causes of low sodiumA number of medical conditions or circumstances can lead to low sodium levels including:
- Adrena... Read more about low sodiumcauses
How is low sodium treated?
In an emergency setting, low sodium is most often treated with the introduction of a sodium chloride solution into the bloodstream through intravenous (IV) delivery. Additional treatment will depend on the underlying causes of low sodium levels.
For more moderate cases of low sodium, your health care provider may suggest restricting your water intake or prescribing medications tha... Read more about low sodiumtreatments