Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia (low level of sodium in blood) is a concentration of sodium in blood under 136 mEq (milliequivalents) per blood liter. The  Hyponatremiaconcentration of the sodium in blood drops extremely low when sodium has been over-diluted by extremely large amounts of water in the person’s body.

Sodium may be over-diluted in individuals who drink excessive amounts of water as, sometimes, happens in hospitalized people who consume large water amounts intravenously or in specific psychiatric disorders. In either situation, the fluid amount obtained in, exceeds the capacity of kidneys to eliminate the excess. Smaller water intake amounts (in some cases, about 1 quart daily) may cause Hyponatremia in individuals whose kidneys are not functioning normally, such as people with failure of kidney. Hyponatremia also frequently happens in individuals with liver cirrhosis and heart failure, in whom the volume of blood is elevated. In such conditions, the increased blood volume causes sodium to be overdiluted, although, the sodium total amount in the person’s body is usually higher as well.

Hyponatremia happens in individuals with Addison’s disease (underactive adrenal glands), who excrete excessive sodium amounts. Sodium wasting in the urine is resulted from adrenal hormone aldosterone deficiency. Individuals with STA.DH (Inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone) syndrome, have low concentration of sodium for a different reasons. In such disorder, the pituitary gland at the brain’s base secretes an excessive amounts of Antidiuretic hormones. Such hormone results in body to retain water and dilute sodium amount in the blood. The speed, at which the concentration of sodium falls in blood partly shows the severity of the symptoms.

When the blood sodium concentration falls gradually, symptoms tend to be less severe and do not start unless the concentration becomes too low. When the blood sodium concentration falls abruptly, symptoms are more serious and tend to happen with even minor decrease. The person’s brain is especially sensitive to blood sodium concentration changes. Therefore, confusion and lethargy are among the Hyponatremia’s symptoms.

As Hyponatremia becomes more severe, seizures and muscle twitching can occur. In most serious cases, coma, stupor, and death can follow. Severe Hyponatremia requires prompt and intensive treatment. After doing any emergency measures, a doctor gradually increases sodium concentration in blood with fluids given intravenously. Increasing concentration too quickly may cause permanent brain injury. Intake of fluids is restricted, and doctor tries to determine and treat underlying causes of the Hyponatremia. If Hyponatremia does not improve or worsens, Thiazide or Demeclocycline diuretics can be given.

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