what are the effects of low sodium on the body

Jan 16, Kidney diseases, congestive heart failure (deterioration of the hearts 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. Dec 17, Low blood sodium, or hyponatremia, occurs when water and sodium are out of balance in your body. It can cause weakness, headache, nausea, and muscle cramps.

Low blood sodium hyponatremia occurs when you have an abnormally low amount of sodium in your blood or when you have too much water in your blood. Low blood sodium is common in older adults, especially those who are hospitalized or living in long-term care facilities. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia can include altered personality, lethargy and confusion.

Severe hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma and even death. Hyponatremia is more common in older adults because they're more likely to take medications or have medical conditions that put them at risk of the disorder. These risk factors include:. Hyponatremia treatments may include changing a medication that affects your what is a double displacement reaction in chemistry level, treating the underlying disease, changing the amount of water you drink or changing the amount of salt in your diet.

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Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Sign up now. Why is low blood sodium a health concern for older adults? How is it treated? Answer From Paul Y. With Paul Y. Show references Weismann D, et al.

Clinical aspects of symptomatic hyponatremia. Endocrine Connections. Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed June 21, Soiza RL, et al. Hyponatremia: Special considerations in whaf patients. Journal of Clinical Medicine. Sterns RH. Causes of hyponatremia in adults. Takahashi PY expert opinion. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

June 28, Overview of the treatment of hyponatremia in adults. Mayo Clinic Marketplace Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.

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Why your sodium may be low and what to do about it

Jan 09, Because of the low sodium, the amount of water in your body rises and causes your cells to swell. This can lead to many problems. Some are . Low blood sodium is common in older adults, especially those who are hospitalized or living in long-term care facilities. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia can include altered personality, lethargy and confusion. Severe hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma and even death.

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Develop and improve products. List of Partners vendors. It is not common to have a low sodium level. That is because sodium is a mineral that we consume in saltand the vast majority of people consume far more sodium than they need.

And even as your sodium intake fluctuates from day to day, your body does a pretty good job of maintaining the right concentration of sodium. Sodium levels can be altered due to serious medical conditions.

Major health consequences such as seizures and altered consciousness can result when your sodium is too low. This can have some effects on your physical health, including blood pressure changes, headaches, and irritability.

Sodium is an essential mineralyour body needs it and can't make itso the only way to get it is through your food or by intravenous IV infusion in an emergency situation. Generally, low sodium is asymptomatic does not produce symptoms , when it is mild or related to your diet. It can take weeks or months for you to experience the effects of low salt in your dietand these effects can be corrected by just one day of normal salt intake. However, when sodium levels rapidly decline, which can happen due to certain medical issues, you may experience serious health effects that can worsen rapidly.

The most common effects of severe dietary salt restriction involve your thyroid function. Most of the salt we eat is iodized salt. Your body needs dietary iodine to make thyroid hormones. When you have low sodium due to dietary restriction, you are likely to have symptoms of hypothyroidism too. Low sodium can result from lifestyle factors and medical conditions. There are several hormonal issues that can cause low sodium. Lifestyle issues, related to sodium or fluid intake or to excessive sweating can affect sodium levels as well.

Habits and lifestyle issues rarely affect sodium levels. This is due to the body's efficient ability to balance fluid and sodium.

Rapid fluid intake especially water , however, can make it hard for the body to catch up to the sudden imbalance of sodium. In some situations, excessive sweating can cause you to lose sodium and water from your body. If you are unable to properly replenish your sodium in time, you can develop low sodium. Low salt intake through the diet is the least common cause of low sodium. There are a few medical illnesses that can result in low sodium levels, including hormonal issues and brain injuries.

Typically, hormonal issues develop slowly, and the sodium level can be corrected gradually before it causes any serious problems. However, when brain injuries are the cause of low sodium, the problem can develop rapidly, requiring immediate attention.

Medications : Several medications alter the concentration of fluid and sodium in the body. Adrenal insufficiency : The adrenal glands produce aldosterone, which balances sodium and potassium. Adrenal gland disease, such as cancer or adrenal insufficiency, can cause low sodium levels. As the name suggests, cerebral salt wasting is actually caused by the body ridding itself of salt.

Cerebral salt wasting usually starts about a week after a brain injury and resolves after two to four weeks. However, it can occasionally last for a longer time period, even lasting for several years. Low sodium levels can cause changes in your blood pressure, urine volume, urine concentration, and neurological condition. Your doctor will routinely check your neurological abilities and blood pressure on any medical visit.

It is not typically standard to check urine, but if you have signs of low sodium, you may have this checked as well. Checking daily electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and bicarbonate is common practice in the hospital.

So low sodium is generally detected relatively quickly in the hospital setting. If you have slowly progressing low sodium, or if you develop low sodium at home, it may not be obvious in the early stages. Often, however, if you complain of symptoms of dehydration, fatigue, or muscle cramps, your doctor will likely check your electrolyte levels.

There can be some subtle issues when it comes to low sodium. Your doctor may measure your blood pressure and your urine volume to determine which of these similar conditions you may have. Depending on your sodium level and your other symptoms such as hormonal changes or neurological symptoms , your doctor may also order imaging tests.

For example, if you have weakness of one side of your body or changes in your level of consciousness, you may need a brain computerized tomography CT or magnetic resonance imaging MRI test. If you seem to have a disease of the adrenal gland, you may need an abdominal imaging test.

Hyponatremia low blood sodium , when severe, may cause serious symptoms requiring urgent medical treatment. The treatment of low sodium can be simple at times, and it can be very challenging in some situations. The treatment is often based in slow, careful sodium replacement, as well as management of the cause of low sodium. If a very low salt diet is the cause of your low sodium, your doctor will recommend slowly increasing your salt intake.

If you have severely low sodium, you may need replacement with IV fluid. Your medical team would attempt to restore your proper sodium level over the course of several days, frequently checking your levels.

A sudden change of your sodium concentrationeither up or downcan have serious consequences. If you have very low sodium, you may experience seizures, necessitating treatment with anti-epilepsy drugs AEDs.

Treatment of the medical cause of your low sodium, whether it is adrenal disease or another illness, is necessary as well. Low sodium is extremely rare. While lifestyle habits and diet can cause your sodium levels to be lower than they should be, medical issues are usually at the root of the problem.

The consequences of very low sodium can be serious and the problem needs to be addressed urgently with medical care. Once your sodium level is corrected, management of the underlying cause is important as well. Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Indian J Crit Care Med. Hyponatremia in the elderly: challenges and solutions. Clin Interv Aging. Hypothyroidism Underactive Thyroid. Published August Sweat rates, sweat sodium concentrations, and sodium losses in 3 groups of professional football players.

J Athl Train. Gankam Kengne F, Decaux G. Hyponatremia and the Brain. Kidney Int Rep. Yasir M, Mechanic OJ. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Updated April 2, A review of drug-induced hyponatremia. Am J Kidney Dis. Cerebral salt wasting: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Neurosurg Clin N Am. Updated June 8, Rondon H, Badireddy M.

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