Hyponatremia occurs when your sodium level goes below 135 mEq/L. The hormones aldosterone (made in the adrenal gland) and anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) or vasopressin (made in the pituitary) adjust the way the kidneys deal with water and sodium to maintain the appropr… In many cases, blood sodium levels fall gradually, producing only mild symptoms as the body has time to make adjustments. Causes of low sodium include: severe vomiting or diarrhea taking certain medications, including antidepressants and pain medications taking diuretics (water pills) Although the American Heart Association estimates 97% of Americans consume too much sodium, hyponatremia is a common condition. The recreational drug known as ecstasy can lead to a rapid drop in sodium levels that may result in death. With low blood sodium (hyponatremia), the imbalance of water to sodium is caused by one of three conditions: Euvolemic hyponatremia -- total body water increases, but the body's sodium content stays the same Hypervolemic hyponatremia -- both sodium and water content in the body increase, but the water gain is greater A urine sodium test can be used to determine your kidney function and level of hydration. Mild symptoms include a decreased ability to think, headaches, nausea, and poor balance. The best sports drinks will have 100 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 milligrams of potassium in an eight-ounce serving. We will next investigate hyponatremia causes. Blood sodium levels can drop gradually or rapidly, depending on the underlying cause. Hyponatremia refers to a low level of sodium in the blood. When this happens, your body's water levels rise, and your cells beg… It also helps maintain stable blood pressure levels. Lundman, S., “Is V8 Juice Good for You?” Livestrong, December 18, 2013; http://www.livestrong.com/article/409207-is-v8-juice-good-for-you/, last accessed April 11, 2017. Your body loses a certain amount of sodium each day through sweat and when you go to the bathroom. The condition in which your blood level of sodium is abnormally low is called hyponatremia. This can cause mild symptoms of nausea and headaches and eventually lead to rapid brain swelling and death. Low sodium levels (hypotonicity) cause cells to maintain water and swell. There are artificial ways of getting sodium injected into the body. 4. Medications that are prescribed to treat high blood pressure or fluid retention, called diuretics, can lead to low sodium levels. Hyponatremia or low sodium blood levels may result from excess fluid in the body relative to a normal amount of sodium, or it may be due to a loss of sodium and body fluid caused by chronic conditions like kidney or … You should also consider drinking rehydration beverages like Gatorade or Powerade. Other risk factors include consumption of the recreational drug Ecstasy, sudden exposure to a hot climate, or a strict low-sodium diet. In addition, some other medical conditions of major organs such as heart, liver, kidneys may also be some of the causes of hyponatremia. Falsely low sodium levels Very high cholesterol levels. The causes of low sodium levels in the blood include certain medications, kidney, heart or liver problems, and chronic and severe vomiting or diarrhea, explains Mayo Clinic. Low functioning adrenal glands and an underactive thyroid will cause sodium levels to drop. The sodium levels in our blood become depleted as we sweat, and we may overcompensate by drinking too much water. Metabolic alkalosis is a type of alkalosis that occurs when your blood becomes overly alkaline. Low sodium in the blood can cause confusion, lethargy, and nausea. taking medications for symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and seizures, infusing an intravenous (IV) sodium solution. Hyponatremia occurs when sodium levels in the blood are too low. Learn more about conditions associated with abnormal results. The […] “Low Sodium Level,” Medline Plus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000394.htm, last accessed April 11, 2017. The official hyponatremia definition is the lack of sodium in the blood necessary to regulate the water used by our cells. Sodium is a mineral element which is an important part of the human body. A sodium level in the blood that is too low is dangerous and can cause seizures and coma. Sodium plays a key role in your body function. Losing sodium quickly is a medical emergency. Sodium concentration is higher in the bloodstream than inside cells. Drugs like corticosteroids, laxatives, bicarbonate, and diuretics may also.Health conditions affecting … Symptoms of low blood sodium can vary from person to person. If you’ve ever gone through surgery or known someone who has, you understand that the body goes through an intense amount of stress because of the procedure itself. Health conditions affecting our hormone balance can also cause hyponatremia. If you seek medical advice for any of these symptoms, you can expect a thorough examination by your physician. A basic metabolic panel is often part of a routine physical. The resulting water retention can cause sodium levels to decrease. Low sodium levels can also be due to fluctuations in hormone levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Learn more about the medical uses for salt. Sodium deficiency in cases of normal fluid volume are most often caused by adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, or drinking too much beer or water. This can include heart, liver, and kidney disease. It’s caused less commonly by diabetes insipidus. Symptoms result from brain dysfunction. What does it mean to have low blood sodium? Health conditions affecting our hormone balance can also cause hyponatremia. Overhydration, or drinking too much water, is a potentially deadly condition. Our adrenal glands also need appropriate sleep, rest, and exercise to produce sufficient hormones to balance the electrolyte levels. This hormone plays a key role in water retention, but too much of it causes your body to store excess amounts of water. There are several common causes of low sodium, including diarrhea, excessive sweating, and vomiting . Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. When you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will be pale yellow or clear, and you won’t feel thirsty. During a typical day, women should aim to drink 2.2 liters of fluids. It may include: Keeping your water and electrolyte levels in balance can help prevent low blood sodium. Insufficient sodium in your blood is also known as hyponatremia. Since sodium also plays a role in muscle contraction, critically low sodium levels can also cause muscle weakness, cramps or spasms. Here are 6 reasons why restricting sodium too much can be harmful. The thyroid gland producing inadequate thyroid hormone can also cause hyponatremia. The most common form is sodium chloride, found in table salt. Hyponatremia is a condition characterized by low levels of sodium in the blood. Treatment. There are several symptoms that indicate the sodium levels in your blood have dropped too low. We may lose valuable nutrients, electrolytes, and fluids through severe bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. Severe symptoms include confusion, seizures, and coma. Martel, J., “Low Blood Sodium (Hyponatremia),” Healthline, March 27, 2017; http://www.healthline.com/health/hyponatremia#1, last accessed April 11, 2017. On the flip side, we can easily become dehydrated by not drinking sufficient amounts of water. If you’re an athlete, it’s important to drink the right amount of water during exercise. Older adults and young children are more susceptible to electrolyte and fluid imbalances. Our adrenal glands produce hormones to help balance the water, sodium, and potassium levels. Low sodium levels may be a sign of dehydration or organ failure. Learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, and more. Drugs A diagnosis of hyponatremia may result from an osmolality (chemical) blood test, a urine osmolality, a comprehensive metabolic panel, or a urine sodium test. It controls the volume of fluid in the body and helps maintain the acid-base level. An eight-ounce glass of the popular V8 brand may contain up to 500 milligrams of sodium, so be mindful of your daily intake. Sodium deficiencies that occur in low body fluid volumes are usually due to diarrhea, diuretics, excessive sweating, or vomiting. These can include antidepressants, pain relievers, and diuretics. Hormone conditions such as syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) are among the main causes of low sodium levels. Strenuous exercise such as running can cause us to sweat profusely and replenishing with water may dilute our sodium content. Sources: Even if you don’t have symptoms of low blood sodium, your doctor may order a basic metabolic panel. It's also called a serum sodium test. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells. It’s important for proper muscle and nerve function. Its symptoms are similar to those caused by dehydration. Initial stages of low levels may not present any symptoms unless they drop rapidly. Low sodium in blood is medically referred to as hyponatremia and can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. At first, people become sluggish and confused, and if hyponatremia worsens, they may have muscle twitches and seizures and become progressively unresponsive. Hyponatremia causes neurologic symptoms ranging from confusion to seizures to coma. Drinks enriched with sodium such as vegetable juices can boost your blood sodium levels. You can keep your adrenal glands working properly by maintaining a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, coconut products, seaweed, and foods enriched in B vitamins. The recreational drug ecstasy, which is an amphetamine, can cause salt levels to become dangerously low. Your sodium levels may get too low if your body loses too much water and electrolytes. Sodium and water levels in the body are tightly regulated to keep it functioning normally. Low functioning adrenal glands and an underactive thyroid will cause sodium levels to drop. Last medically reviewed on December 17, 2020. Treatment depends on the cause. Sodium chloride—also known as salt—is used in medical treatments such as IV infusions and catheter flushes. Another important cause of low sodium is that if you are into taking a lot of diuretics, your levels of sodium will come down. It's most often caused by excessive vomiting. These drinks contain electrolytes, and help replenish sodium lost through sweating. All rights reserved. High sodium levels (hypertonicity) cause cells to release water and shrink. This tests the amounts of electrolytes and minerals in your blood. Not just for athletes, sports drinks can help to replenish sodium levels, especially after a strenuous workout or run. In other words, there’s either too much water or not enough sodium in your blood. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. There may also be too much water in your body. In these cases the result for the blood sodium will be low but that … But don’t you know that low levels of sodium are also terrible for your health? Hyponatremia may also be a symptom of certain medical conditions. Symptoms include lethargy, confusion, and fatigue. syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone, 6 Little-Known Dangers of Restricting Sodium Too Much, 13 Foods That Are Good for High Blood Pressure, Raise Low Blood Pressure Naturally Through Diet, drinking too much water during exercise (this is very rare). A low sodium level has many causes, including consumption of too many fluids, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and use of diuretics. There is the problem of the critically low sodium levels being caused by many different reasons, including a number of health diseases and/or disorders. Our adrenal glands produce hormones to help balance the water, sodium, and potassium levels. Low sodium blood levels may be caused by excess fluid in the body relative to a normal amount of sodium, or it may be due to a loss of sodium and body fluid caused by chronic conditions like kidney failure or congestive heart failure (CHF). We include products we think are useful for our readers. When sodium levels drop slowly, the condition is called chronic hyponatremia and patients may experience nausea, vomiting, headache and confusion. Addison's disease can disrupt the balance of not only salt but also potassium and water. When looking for high-sodium drinks to increase levels, limit beverages that do not have any nutritional benefit. It's often recommended to reduce sodium to lower blood pressure. Take a look at our list and see which ones you'd like to add…. Contraction, critically low sodium in your blood becomes overly alkaline lose a of. 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