What is hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia occurs when sodium levels in the blood are abnormally low. When the sodium levels become diluted, the water levels rise and cause the cells to swell. This swelling can cause mild to serious symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hyponatremia?
- Fatigue/loss of energy
- Muscle weakness
What causes hyponatremia?
There are many underlying conditions or reasons that lead to hyponatremia. These include:
- Problems with the liver, kidney, and heart
- Drinking excessive amounts of water
- Certain medications
- Use of ecstasy
- Hormonal changes
- Severe dehydration, which can be caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or something else
- Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH)
There are also risk factors that increase one’s chance of developing hyponatremia, such as taking certain drugs, intensive physical activities, having a condition that lowers the body’s water excretion, and being of older age.
How is hyponatremia diagnosed?
Doctors will first ask for medical history, followed by a physical examination. Blood and urine tests will be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
What are the treatments for hyponatremia?
The first step in treatment is addressing the underlying cause. Doctors may suggest cutting back on fluids or medications to increase sodium levels. If the case is severe, a doctor may recommend intravenous fluids or medications to manage the symptoms.
There are ways to prevent this condition. It is important to seek treatment for any associated conditions so that they do not lead to hyponatremia, educate yourself about hyponatremia if you have a condition or take certain medications, drink sports beverages like Gatorade rather than water during intense physical activity, take other precautions during intense exercise, and drink water in moderation.