Why Our Body Needs Enough Sodium?

Sodium is an electrolyte that helps to control the amount of water in and around the cells in your body. Sodium plays a crucial role in maintaining blood pressure, supporting the nerves and muscles, and regulates the body’s fluid balance.

If the sodium in your blood is too low, you have a condition called hyponatremia.

What are normal and abnormal levels?

Normal blood sodium levels: 135-145 milliequivalents/litre

Hyponatremia: Sodium levels less than 135 milliequivalents/litre

What causes hyponatremia?

Various factors cause low sodium levels- but one major and common cause of this condition is drinking too much water. Yes, excess water causes the sodium in your body to become diluted, and when this happens, your body’s water levels rise, and cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause various health problems.

  1. Heart, liver, and kidney disorders can cause fluids to accumulate in the body, lowering the overall levels

  2. Certain medications like diuretics antidepressants and pain medications interfere with the normal range of sodium levels

  3. Severe vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration

  4. Hormonal changes – insufficiency of a gland called adrenaline affects its ability to produce hormones that maintain levels of an electrolyte such as sodium, potassium, and water.

Symptoms of hyponatremia

These symptoms imply low levels of sodium –

  1. Headache

  2. Confusions

  3. Loss of energy, drowsiness, and fatigue

  4. Nausea or vomiting

  5. Weakness

  6. Muscle cramps or spasms

  7. Severe cases can lead to seizures or coma

Diagnosis of hyponatremia

The doctors ask about medical history and perform a physical examination. As the signs and symptoms of hyponatremia or low sodium levels are similar to other health conditions, it is impossible to diagnose the condition based on the physical test alone.

Hence to confirm the low blood sodium, your doctor will order tests like blood tests and urine tests.

Treatment of hyponatremia

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Here are a few recommendations from the doctors-

Dietary changes and cutting down water intake

Intravenous fluids are recommended to raise blood sodium levels slowly

Medications for managing symptoms such as seizures, nausea, and headaches

Prevention of hyponatremia

Treat conditions associated with low sodium levels.

Educate yourself about hyponatremia and look for signs and symptoms.

Limit water intake- water is essential for health, but we shouldn’t overdo it.

Consider having sports beverages during intense physical activities.

Source

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