Hyponatremia

Overview of Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia occurs when the normal sodium level in our body is disturbed. Hyponatremia can be caused by any underlying condition or consuming too much water.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyponatremia

Sodium plays an important role in the maintenance of blood pressure. It regulates the function of nerves and muscles. It also maintains the electrolyte balance of the body. The normal sodium range is between 135-145 mEq/L. When this normal level is disturbed, hyponatremia occurs.
Hyponatremia (خون میں سوڈیم کی کمی/Khoon ma Sodium ki Kami) is a condition caused by any underlying condition or consuming too much water. Its treatment is aimed at the underlying conditions.

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Types of Hyponatremia

Some common signs and symptoms of hyponatremia are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue
  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Coma
  • Seizures
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Risk Factors of Hyponatremia

Different medical conditions and lifestyle changes can cause hyponatremia such as:

  • Medications: Certain medicines such as diuretics, antidepressants and pain relievers disturb the normal level of sodium.
  • Heart, Kidney and Liver diseases: Some heartliver and kidney abnormalities cause fluid accumulation in the body. It causes the dilution of sodium and lowers its overall level.
  • Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone (SIADH): This condition is associated with the production of anti-diuretic hormones (ADH) at high levels. It results in the retention of water in the body instead of its release in the urine.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea: Prolonged vomiting and diarrhoea cause dehydration that results in electrolyte imbalance such as loss of sodium ions.
  • Drinking Too Much Water: Excessive water or other fluids cause a decrease in sodium levels. Because blood sodium is diluted and released during sweating.Hormonal Changes: Adrenal gland produces specific hormones that maintain the level of sodium, potassium and water in the body. Addison's disease affects the adrenal glands that result in an imbalance of blood sodium levels.
  • The Recreational Drug Ecstasy: Amphetamine increases the severity of hyponatremia.

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Prevention

There are some factors that can increase the risk of hyponatremia such as:

  • Age: Older adults are at high risk of hyponatremia. It could be due to age-related changes, certain medicines and some chronic medical conditions that disturb the body normal sodium level. 
  • Certain Drugs: Drugs that can increase the risk of hyponatremia may include thiazide diuretics, antidepressants and pain medications.
  • Medical Conditions that Cause Retention of Water: Some diseases such as kidney problems, SIADH and cardiac arrest can increase the risk of hyponatremia.
  • Intensive Physical Activities: People who take part in marathons, long-distance or other intensive activities drink a lot of water that increases the risk of hyponatremia.

Health-Related Complications of Hyponatremia

In persistent hyponatremia, there is a gradual drop in sodium level and its symptoms and complications are often mild.
However acute hyponatremia causes the rapid drop in sodium level that result in serious effects such as:

  • Brain swelling
  • Coma
  • Death
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Diagnosis

Hyponatremia can be prevented by the following measures:

  • Get treatment for underlying conditions that can lower the sodium level such as Addison’s disease.
  • Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms and risk factors of the disease.
  • Take precautions while drinking fluid after high-intensity activities. Because too much water can dilute the blood sodium.
  • Drink electrolyte-containing beverages after high-intensity activities such as marathons.

Treatment of Hyponatremia | When to Consult a Doctor

Hyponatremia is diagnosed by inquiring about medical history and physical examination.
However, various conditions express symptoms of hyponatremia, therefore it is difficult to diagnose the disease on the basis of physical examination. Blood and urine tests are performed to estimate the level of blood sodium.

Doctors to treat Hyponatremia

Last updated on Friday 21/10/2022

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Dr. Tashbeeb Gulzar

Nephrologist | MBBS, MD

National Hospital & Medical CenterRs 3000

Hameed Latif HospitalRs 3000

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24

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Dr. Muhammad Mohsin Riaz

Nephrologist | MBBS, FCPS

Iqra Medical ComplexRs 2500

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98%

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15

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Highly Recommended

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Dr. Muhammad Salman Rehman

Hypertension Specialist, Nephrologist | MBBS, FCPS, SCE Nephrology

Faisal Hospital (Lahore)Rs 2500

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99%

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12

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