When this happens, your body's water levels rise, and your cells beg… A blood test can help your doctor check for low sodium levels. Hyponatremia may also be a symptom of certain medical conditions. It’s important to increase your fluid intake if: You should drink no more than 1 liter of water per hour. The sodium levels in our blood become depleted as we sweat, and we may overcompensate by drinking too much water. Treatment. Drinks enriched with sodium such as vegetable juices can boost your blood sodium levels. As we need sodium for proper functioning, it is important to understand what causes low levels and to be aware of hyponatremia symptoms. When looking for high-sodium drinks to increase levels, limit beverages that do not have any nutritional benefit. Hyponatremia is present when levels drop below 135 mEq/L. Low sodium levels in both your blood and your urine mean your body isn’t taking in enough sodium. In many cases, blood sodium levels fall gradually, producing only mild symptoms as the body has time to make adjustments. This can cause mild symptoms of nausea and headaches and eventually lead to rapid brain swelling and death. It controls the volume of fluid in the body and helps maintain the acid-base level. We may lose valuable nutrients, electrolytes, and fluids through severe bouts of diarrhea and vomiting. A urine sodium test can be used to determine your kidney function and level of hydration. If you’re an athlete, it’s important to drink the right amount of water during exercise. Not just for athletes, sports drinks can help to replenish sodium levels, especially after a strenuous workout or run. It may identify low blood sodium in someone without any symptoms. But don’t you know that low levels of sodium are also terrible for your health? Strenuous exercise such as running can cause us to sweat profusely and replenishing with water may dilute our sodium content. Overhydration, or drinking too much water, is a potentially deadly condition. Falsely low sodium levels Very high cholesterol levels. Don’t forget that it’s possible to drink too much water too quickly. We will next investigate hyponatremia causes. Low sodium levels (hypotonicity) cause cells to maintain water and swell. Low functioning adrenal glands and an underactive thyroid will cause sodium levels to drop. Even if you don’t have symptoms of low blood sodium, your doctor may order a basic metabolic panel. All rights reserved. There may also be too much water in your body. This can include heart, liver, and kidney disease. Let’s explore what dangerously low sodium levels actually mean … It's often recommended to reduce sodium to lower blood pressure. With low blood sodium (hyponatremia), the imbalance of water to sodium is caused by one of three conditions: Euvolemic hyponatremia -- total body water increases, but the body's sodium content stays the same Hypervolemic hyponatremia -- both sodium and water content in the body increase, but the water gain is greater Here are 6 reasons why restricting sodium too much can be harmful. We'll…. It's most often caused by excessive vomiting. What does it mean to have low blood sodium? If your sodium levels fall gradually, you may not experience any symptoms. When sodium levels drop slowly, the condition is called chronic hyponatremia and patients may experience nausea, vomiting, headache and confusion. Sodium deficiencies that occur in low body fluid volumes are usually due to diarrhea, diuretics, excessive sweating, or vomiting. What Causes Low Blood Sodium Levels? Hyponatremia occurs when your sodium level goes below 135 mEq/L. Medications that are prescribed to treat high blood pressure or fluid retention, called diuretics, can lead to low sodium levels. Hyponatremia (low blood sodium) is a condition that means you don’t have enough sodium in your blood. Sign Up for the Latest Health News and Tips, Home » General Health » Low Sodium in Blood (Hyponatremia): Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. Certain factors increase your risk of low blood sodium, including: If you’re at risk for low sodium, you may need to be more careful about your intake of electrolytes and water. Blood sodium levels can drop gradually or rapidly, depending on the underlying cause. Once the sodium level drops, our cells expand from the abundance of water present in the blood. Our adrenal glands produce hormones to help balance the water, sodium, and potassium levels. When you’re adequately hydrated, your urine will be pale yellow or clear, and you won’t feel thirsty. If you have any questions about low sodium levels and alcohol, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your questions. It is generally defined as a sodium concentration of less than 135 mmol/L (135 mEq/L), with severe hyponatremia being below 120 mEq/L. The severity of the symptoms depends on how low the sodium levels are in the bloodstream and how quickly they fall. Symptoms and the condition of hyponatremia may be treated and possibly prevented with lifestyle choices and remedies. If you feel your sodium level has dropped below the normal level you should contact your doctor to see if you have an underlying cause that may need to be treated. In this brief article, we have talked about low sodium levels and alcohol, symptoms of low sodium levels and alcohol, causes of low sodium levels, and more information about low sodium levels and alcohol. drug induced low sodium FREE subscriptions for doctors and students... click here You have 3 open access pages. Low functioning adrenal glands and an underactive thyroid will cause sodium levels to drop. Most foods have sodium in them. Another important cause of low sodium is that if you are into taking a lot of diuretics, your levels of sodium will come down. Drug-induced hyponatraemia occurs in approximately 5% of … A diagnosis of hyponatremia may result from an osmolality (chemical) blood test, a urine osmolality, a comprehensive metabolic panel, or a urine sodium test. It's also called a serum sodium test. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells. Sodium deficiency in cases of normal fluid volume are most often caused by adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, or drinking too much beer or water. There are some suggestions for low sodium treatment at home, which also may help to prevent levels from dropping. Metabolic alkalosis is a type of alkalosis that occurs when your blood becomes overly alkaline. Your sodium levels may get too low if your body loses too much water and electrolytes. It occurs when a person doesn’t get enough water, either because of limited access to water or an impaired thirst mechanism. We need sodium to help maintain blood pressure, regulate fluids, and aid in the function of our nerves and muscles. 4. Men should aim for 3 liters. Sodium plays a key role in your body function. “Drinks To Increase Sodium Intake,” San Francisco Gate; http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/drinks-increase-sodium-intake-10730.html, last accessed April 10, 2017. Hyponatremia causes neurologic symptoms ranging from confusion to seizures to coma. 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The resulting water retention can cause sodium levels to decrease. Sodium concentration is higher in the bloodstream than inside cells. Initial stages of low levels may not present any symptoms unless they drop rapidly. It’s caused less commonly by diabetes insipidus. Mild symptoms include a decreased ability to think, headaches, nausea, and poor balance. Last medically reviewed on December 17, 2020. These can include antidepressants, pain relievers, and diuretics. SIADH leads the body to produce the antidiuretic hormone, also known as vasopressin, in excess. Our adrenal glands produce hormones to help balance the water, sodium, and potassium levels. Low sodium levels can also be due to fluctuations in hormone levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Hypernatremia is rare. There are some troubles caused by this matter including fatigue, headache, nausea, vomit, muscle cramp, anxiety, and more. Symptoms can be absent, mild or severe. Learn about causes, symptoms, treatments, and more. The thyroid gland producing inadequate thyroid hormone can also cause hyponatremia. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps regulate the amount of water that's in and around your cells.In hyponatremia, one or more factors — ranging from an underlying medical condition to drinking too much water — cause the sodium in your body to become diluted. Drugs Hyponatremia refers to a low level of sodium in the blood. Low blood sodium is common in older adults, especially those who … What causes low sodium? The buildup of water will quickly lower sodium blood levels. You should also consider drinking rehydration beverages like Gatorade or Powerade. Symptoms of low blood sodium can vary from person to person. The causes of low sodium levels in the blood include certain medications, kidney, heart or liver problems, and chronic and severe vomiting or diarrhea, explains Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter and prescribed medications may have an adverse effect on the sodium levels in our blood. Martel, J., “Low Blood Sodium (Hyponatremia),” Healthline, March 27, 2017; http://www.healthline.com/health/hyponatremia#1, last accessed April 11, 2017. Although the American Heart Association estimates 97% of Americans consume too much sodium, hyponatremia is a common condition. Function of Sodium. If they drop very quickly, your symptoms may be more severe. The common causes of low chloride levels or hypochloremia in the body are loss of fluids due to prolonged diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, and sweating. The results of this test will help your doctor determine the cause of your low blood sodium: Treatment for low blood sodium varies depending on the cause. The most common form is sodium chloride, found in table salt. Causes of Low Sodium Levels. Sodium is a mineral element which is an important part of the human body. The main treatment for hyponatremia involves identifying and correcting the underlying cause. The official hyponatremia definition is the lack of sodium in the blood necessary to regulate the water used by our cells. But how much water you should actually drink is more…, Foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help lower blood pressure. Addison's disease can disrupt the balance of not only salt but also potassium and water. These drinks are also helpful if you lose a lot of fluids through vomiting or diarrhea. A sodium level in the blood that is too low is dangerous and can cause seizures and coma. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. Drugs like corticosteroids, laxatives, bicarbonate, and diuretics may also.Health conditions affecting … A low sodium level has many causes, including consumption of too many fluids, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and use of diuretics. We’ve always been told we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay healthy. Other risk factors include consumption of the recreational drug Ecstasy, sudden exposure to a hot climate, or a strict low-sodium diet. Sodium and water levels in the body are tightly regulated to keep it functioning normally. The recreational drug known as ecstasy can lead to a rapid drop in sodium levels that may result in death. Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***. In addition, some other medical conditions of major organs such as heart, liver, kidneys may also be some of the causes of hyponatremia. The hormones aldosterone (made in the adrenal gland) and anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) or vasopressin (made in the pituitary) adjust the way the kidneys deal with water and sodium to maintain the appropr… Low sodium in the blood can cause confusion, lethargy, and nausea. Causes of low sodium include: severe vomiting or diarrhea taking certain medications, including antidepressants and pain medications taking diuretics (water pills) Its symptoms are similar to those caused by dehydration. This stage causes us to lose electrolytes such as sodium and other fluids. In other words, there’s either too much water or not enough sodium in your blood. We rely on sodium for the proper functioning of many organs, including our skin cells. Losing sodium quickly is a medical emergency. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Many people tend to be afraid with high level of sodium within their body. The best sports drinks will have 100 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 milligrams of potassium in an eight-ounce serving. Common symptoms of low blood sodium include: Many factors can cause low blood sodium. High sodium levels (hypertonicity) cause cells to release water and shrink. Hyponatremia occurs when sodium levels in the blood are too low. People who suffer from SIADH produce excess amounts of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH). Low blood sodium is caused by many factors such as loss of too much water and electrolytes from the body. “Hyponatremia,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/basics/treatment/con-20031445, last accessed April 10, 2017. Learn more about the medical uses for salt. What causes hyponatremia? Cancers such as small cell lung carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma and certain brain tumors can cause a condition known as the syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone (SIADH) secretion. This tests the amounts of electrolytes and minerals in your blood. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. If the levels aren’t restored, the person may suffer severe health consequences. Hyponatremia is a condition characterized by low levels of sodium in the blood. Hyponatremia treatment starts with increasing sodium levels in the blood as determined by the cause. Hyponatremia occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. But why is it so important to maintain a good balance within your sodium levels in the body? Regulatory mechanisms help control and maintain sodium levels. While many of us are trying to reduce the amount of sodium we ingest, there are some people who need to boost their intake. There is the problem of the critically low sodium levels being caused by many different reasons, including a number of health diseases and/or disorders. Low sodium in blood is medically referred to as hyponatremia and can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. Health conditions affecting our hormone balance can also cause hyponatremia. As our blood sodium levels drop, it is important to take note of recent lifestyle changes, any existing or new health conditions, and possible effects of prescribed medication. 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