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 sodium

A number of medical conditions or circumstances can lead to low sodium levels including:

  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Burns
  • Certain medications such as diuretics
  • Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Dehydration (loss of body fluids and electrolytes, which can be life threatening when severe and untreated)
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Excess water consumption
  • Extreme exercise
  • Kidney diseases
  • Profuse sweating
  • Syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone (SIADH), a condition that causes the body to retain excess water

What are the risk factors for low sodium?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing low sodium. Not all people with risk factors will get low sodium. Risk factors for low sodium include:

  • Advanced age
  • Excessive exercise, particularly outdoors in hot weather
  • Hot climate
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver failure
  • Medication side effects

Reducing your risk of low sodium

If your exercise routine contains demanding physical activity, it is important to stay properly hydrated by drinking electrolyte-containing beverages.

You may be able to lower your risk of low sodium by:

  • Drinking electrolyte-containing fluids, such as sports drinks to replenish fluids and electrolytes when participating in sports
  • Maintaining proper hydration

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.

... Read more about low sodiumintroduction


What are the symptoms of low sodium?

Common symptoms of low sodium

You may experience low sodium symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these low sodium symptoms can be severe:


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

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 5, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation