Hyponatremia is a condition in which the level of sodium, an electrolyte in blood, is abnormally low. Sodium plays an important role in the body. Sodium is helpful in regulating the water amount that is around and in body cells. Sodium supports work of muscles and nerves and maintains normal blood pressure. Sodium level in the body could get diluted when a person drinks too much of water while performing endurance sports. Level of water in the body rises, leading to swelling in the cells. Mild to life threatening health issues could occur due to this swelling. 135 to 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) of sodium is the normal sodium level.
Many lifestyle factors and other conditions including severe or chronic diarrhea and vomiting, hormonal changes, dehydration, drinking too much of water, certain pain medications, antidepressants and diuretics, SIADH – Syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone, liver, kidney and heart problems, and taking Ecstasy the recreational drug could cause Hyponatremia.
Hyponatremia risk increases due to a number of factors including certain drugs, old age, intensive physical activities and conditions that decrease excretion of water from the body.
Sodium levels drop over 48 hours or longer in chronic Hyponatremi and more moderate complications and symptoms are experienced. In the case of acute Hyponatremia, rapid drop in the level of sodium is seen, resulting in rapid swelling in the brain and then coma and even death. At greatest risk are premenopausal women who could suffer from Hyponatremia related damage to the brain.
Symptoms of Hyponatremia include seizures, vomiting, confusion, headache fatigue, nausea, energy loss, irritability, restlessness, cramps, spasms, weakness in muscles, or coma.
Diagnosis is done by the doctor by doing a physical examination and checking out medical history. If diagnosis is not possible with physical examination alone then urine tests and blood tests are also ordered by the doctor to confirm low level of sodium in the blood.
Main aim of Hyponatremia treatment is to resolve the underlying health condition. The person needs to reduce the amount of water intake, depending upon the cause of Hyponatremia. Medications and intravenous fluids are administered in other cases of Hyponatremia.