With the pinpointing increase in number of people around the world, it has become a place full of pollution and diseases. But, in this rushing age of competition, most of us have started to neglect your health.
In this article, let’s discuss about a sever disease encountered by many people i.e. Hyponatremia, which most of us are unaware about.
Hyponatremia is an important and common clinical problem faced by many people. It is a disease, which occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Sodium is an electrolyte which helps to regulate the amount of water that’s around your cells.
Low sodium blood levels may result from excess fluid in the body or loss of body fluid relative to normal amount of sodium, caused by chronic conditions.
In simple terms, sodium is essential for many body functions including the maintenance of fluid balance, regulation of blood pressure and normal function of nervous system. So, when sodium in your body is abnormally low, your body starts to have issues in these areas, which is called Hyponatremia or low sodium blood.
Hyponatremia is sometimes also referred as water intoxication especially when it occurs due to excess consumption of water, for instance during excessive exercise.
Types of Hyponatremia
Hypovolemic means decrease in total body water or fluid with greater decrease in sodium level. There are numerous causes of hypovolemic hyponatremia. Patients typically have signs and symptoms associated with vomiting, diarrhea, and headache.
Euvolemic means increase in total body water with normal sodium level. It is most commonly caused by SIADH (Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion). This symptom is diagnosed by finding from the history and physical examination, and low uric acid levels.
Hypervolemic means increase in total body water compared with sodium level. It occurs when the kidneys cannot excrete water efficiently. The most common causes are heart failure, and kidney injuries. Treatment consists of correcting the underlined causes and sodium and fluid restrictions.
Symptoms of Hyponatremia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of energy, drowsiness and fatigue
- Restlessness and irritability
- Decrease in concentration
- Muscle weakness and cramps
- Mental changes
What causes Hyponatremia?
The normal sodium level in a human body is 135-145 miliequivalents per liter. When sodium levels in the body is low than 135-145, water tends to enter the cells of body and causes them to swell.
Some medications, such as water pills, pain medications and anti-depressants can interfere with the normal hormonal and kidney process keeping the sodium blood level very low.
Heart, kidney and liver problem:
Heart failure, kidney and liver problem, and certain diseases affecting them can cause fluids to accumulate in your body, weakening the sodium in our body and lowering the level as a whole.
Drinking too much water:
Drinking excessive amount of water can cause low sodium by affecting the kidneys’’ ability to absorb it. During excessive exercise, your body loses sodium through sweat, so drinking too much water can easily weaken the sodium contained in your blood.
Intensive physical activities:
People who drink too much of water while taking part in intense physical activities such as gym, marathons, triathlons, or any physical games are very much likely to have low sodium blood level, due to the excessive sweat their body throws out.
Diagnosis and when to see the doctor
People who are at the risk of having hyponatremia and have started to develop symptoms regarding it, should not delay and see the doctor as soon as possible.
Call your doctor if you know that you are at risk of hyponatremia and are experiencing nausea, headaches, cramping or weakness.
To diagnose low sodium levels, a doctor will take a medical history, perform examinations and order a blood test.
If sodium blood levels is found low, doctor will typically need to tests to determine the causes.
Treatment Guidelines of Hyponatremia
Having a mild chronic hyponatremia may not require treatment other than adjusting in the diet, lifestyle or medications. It may not be necessary to go to the doctor immediately, but rather can be treated on your own. But for sever hyponatremia, treatment typically involves the blood management of fluids. In this situation, medication and consultancy of doctor are often needed that treats the underlined causes of hyponatremia. For instance, people with liver, kidney or heart problems may require a transplant. Individual having this condition may be restricted by the doctor to intake fluids, and take salt tablets or use medications.
Prevention of Hyponatremia
To avoid low blood sodium levels in your body, we should use the following prevention methods:
If you have any medical condition that increase the risk factor associated with hyponatremia or low sodium blood levels, be aware of the signs and symptoms. Always consult to the doctor about the risk and medications.
Consider drinking sports beverages:
If you have a habit of doing intense exercise, you should drink only as much fluid as you lose due to sweating. Thirst is generally a good guide to how much water you need. So, better consume sports beverages than drinking lots of water.
Drink water in moderation:
Drinking water is vital for your health, so make sure you drink enough water that your body requires to prevent from low sodium blood level. But, like said earlier having excessive water is not good enough for your health. So, have it on the moderate amount.