Overview of Hyponatremia

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

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.

Signs and Symptoms 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

Types of Hyponatremia

Causes 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 diarrhea 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: The adrenal gland produces specific hormones that maintain the level of sodium, potassium, and water in the body. Addison's disease affects the adrenal glands which results in an imbalance of blood sodium levels.
  • The Recreational Drug Ecstasy: Amphetamine increases the severity of hyponatremia.

Risk Factors of Hyponatremia

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's 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 which 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 a rapid drop in sodium level that result in serious effects such as:


  • Brain swelling
  • Coma
  • Death



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.




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 tests and urine tests are performed to estimate the level of blood sodium.


Treatment of Hyponatremia | When to Consult a Doctor

Hyponatremia treatment is aimed at the underlying conditions. 

Moderate and chronic hyponatremia can be treated by reducing the amount of drinking water and diuretics. However, for acute hyponatremia aggressive treatment is required. It may include:

  • Intravenous Fluids: Blood sodium levels can be balanced by administering an IV sodium solution. This requires a hospital stay to monitor the level of sodium in the blood. 
  • Medications: Medications are generally prescribed to relieve the signs and symptoms of hyponatremia, such as migraine, nausea, and seizures.

If you experience any signs and symptoms of hyponatremia that are persistent and worrisome seek medical care from a qualified nephrologist as soon as possible.