Hyponatremia (Low Sodium) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Hyponatremia may occur in a variety of situations and is due to an abnormality of water and sodium regulation. It is important for the health care practitioner to decide whether the low sodium occurred acutely (within 48 hours) or whether the hyponatremia is more chronic in nature.
Treatment is directed at correcting the underlying cause and then helping the body correct the sodium and water levels in the body. If the underlying cause is resolved, then observation may be all that is needed.
The urgency of treatment depends upon the neurologic status of the patient, with those is coma or having seizures needing emergent intervention. Intravenous saline in a variety of concentrations may be used to correct the sodium deficit in the body.
For those patients with chronic hyponatremia, correcting the sodium levels too quickly may be associated with central pontine myelinolysis, in which cells in the midbrain are damaged, leading to stroke-like symptoms.
Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, MBA, FAAFP; American Board of Family Medicine
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2014
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