Today, we are going to discuss about a medical problem that use to occur in summers more often, Hyponatremia. In summers we drink more water than we usually drink in winters and obviously, we sweat more due to this we lose more salt i.e sodium from body and problem of Hyponatremia occurs. It usually happens when people drink too much during endurance events like marathons or triathlons, and also lose sodium through their sweat.
Sodium in bloodstream is responsible to control the amount of water is in and around the cells in our body. when hyponatremia is caused by loss of excess water from our body through heavy exercise or by other physical activity, this situation called ”water intoxication”.
Sodium is essential for maintaining the optimal balance of body fluids, regulation of blood pressure and proper functioning of nervous system. So we need to keep a sharp eye on our lifestyle and try to maintain a proper sodium level in our body, naturally.
Hyponatremia is not only caused by the excess loss of sodium body fluids through sweat or urine but many other factors can cause Hyponatremia, like taking some medications, Hormone imbalance, having some health problems related to kidneys and liver, etc.
The normal blood sodium level is 135 – 145 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 135 – 145 millimoles/liter (mmol/L). The results may vary by lab to lab.
What are the Symptoms of Hyponatremia ?
Hyponatremia reflects an access of total body water relative to total sodium content in body. The symptoms of Hyponatremia may vary from person to person. Some people feels it some may not. If the sodium level from body drops slowly, then it will be a high possibility that you don’t feel any symptoms but if the sodium level drops quickly then the symptoms may be more severe and in some cases a life threatening too. It can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, and coma.
common symptoms of Hyponatremia are :-
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy
- Restlessness and irritability
- Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
When to see a Doctor?
If the symptoms seems more severe then call your doctor and ask him to visit and in mean while you can try some home remedies according to your symptoms but in case of seizures and coma please do not try some home remedies without your doctor consultation. Depending on the extent and duration of these signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend seeking immediate medical care.
Causes of Low Blood Sodium
As we know that sodium plays a very important role in maintaining the optimal balance of body fluids, regulation of blood pressure and proper functioning of nervous system. low sodium level can be result of many chronic conditions like Kideny failure, heart attack and comma.
So, here is the list of some causes of Hyponatremia :-
- some medications can also affect the sodium level in our body, includes Anti Depressent and pain killers.
- Diuretics (water pills) can also affect the sodium in blood
- severe diarrhea and vomiting
- Its very rare but drinking too much water during exercise can also cause sodium in blood.
- Kidney faliure
- Liver disease
- heart problems including congestive heart faliure
- adrenal gland disorders, which effects your adrenal glands ability to regulate the balance of sodium, potassium, and water in your body
- Hormone imbalance
- ecstacy, this illegal drug amphetamine increases the risk of severe and even fatal cases of hyponatremia.
Who is at Risk ?
The following may increase your risk of low blood sodium, such as :-
- The person who is taking certain medication like diuretics, Ecstasy and antidepressant is prone to have Hyponatremia
- Older people are more prone to have low blood sodium in their body
- High performance athletes are also at risk
- Person suffering from hyperhidrosis is having more risk of losing sodium from blood
- Medical conditions that includes kidney disease, syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone (SIADH) and heart failure, among others may increase your risk of hyponatremia
- Having low sodium diet
Treatment of Hyponatremia
First, Doctor may suggest you a certain tests to check for low sodium levels. The tests mainly includes blood test and urine test. If your blood sodium levels are low but your urine sodium levels are high, then your body is losing too much sodium. If Sodium levels in both your blood and your urine is low that mean your body is not taking in enough sodium. There may also be too much water in your body.
If the doctor find the signs of mild chronic hyponatremia then he may suggest you to make a adjustment in your diest, lifestyle and medications you taking. But in the case of severe hyponatremia the proper intravenous administration of fluids and electrolytes may required.
Doc may tell you to cut back on fluid intake and if you are on diuretics then he may adjust the dosage of diuretics according your condition, you may need to get fluids by IV so that you can get sodium quickly. If you having a symptoms like vomiting, headache and nausea then he may write you some prescription to control those symptoms until the sodium level in your blood not get back to normal.
If you’re at risk for low sodium, you may need to be more careful about your intake of electrolytes and water.