What is low sodium level?

Low Sodium Level

Hyponatremia: Overview

Hyponatremia (say "hy-po-nuh-TREE-mee-uh") means that you don't have enough sodium in your blood. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Or you may not feel hungry. In serious cases, it can cause seizures, a coma, or even death.

Hyponatremia is not a disease. It is a problem caused by something else, such as medicines or exercising for a long time in hot weather.

You can get hyponatremia if you lose a lot of fluids and then you drink a lot of water or other liquids that don't have much sodium. You can also get it if you have kidney, liver, heart, or other health problems.

Treatment is focused on getting your sodium levels back to normal.

What are the symptoms of hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia may cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, and muscle weakness or cramps. You may not feel hungry. It can cause mood changes and make it hard to think clearly. Severe lack of sodium may lead to seizures or a coma.

How is hyponatremia treated?

Your doctor may treat the medical condition or change the medicine that is causing your low sodium levels. You may get medicine to raise these levels. You may be told to limit the amount of water you drink. You may also add more salt to your diet or drink electrolyte replacement drinks.

How can you prevent hyponatremia?

Follow your doctor's directions for treating any related problems. If you've had lots of vomiting, diarrhea, or long bouts of exercise (such as running a marathon), consider drinking an electrolyte replacement drink instead of water.

How is hyponatremia diagnosed?

To diagnose hyponatremia, your doctor will examine you and ask about your health. You will also have a blood test to check on the sodium levels in your blood.

How can you care for hyponatremia?

  • If your doctor recommends it, drink fluids that have sodium. Sports drinks are a good choice. Or you can eat salty foods.
  • If your doctor recommends it, limit the amount of water you drink. And limit fluids that are mostly water. These include tea, coffee, and juice.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you have any problems with your medicine.
  • Get your sodium levels tested when your doctor tells you to.

What causes hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia can be caused by conditions that make you retain water, such as kidney disease, liver cirrhosis, thyroid problems, and heart failure. Some medicines may cause it. It can also happen when you lose water through exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea and then replace it with fluids that don't contain enough sodium.

What is hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia (say "hy-poh-nay-TREE-mee-uh") means that you don't have enough sodium in your blood compared to water. Sodium is both an electrolyte and a mineral. It helps keep the right mix of fluids in your body. Severe hyponatremia can be harmful to the brain and nervous system.

Hyponatremia: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are confused or it is hard to focus.
  • You have little or no appetite.
  • You feel sick to your stomach or you vomit.
  • You have a headache.
  • You have mood changes.
  • You feel more tired than usual.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.