Doctor's Notes on Hyponatremia (Low Sodium)
Hyponatremia is the term that refers to an abnormally low level of sodium in the bloodstream. Low sodium blood levels may be caused by excess fluid in the body relative to a normal amount of sodium, or it may be due to a loss of sodium and body fluid caused by chronic conditions like kidney failure or congestive heart failure (CHF). It has been referred to as "water intoxication" because it can arise due to the consumption of excess water without adequate sodium replacement.
Associated symptoms and signs of hyponatremia are nonspecific and can occur with many other conditions. They may include
In extreme cases, when sodium levels are very low, coma and even death may result.
What Is the Treatment for Hyponatremia?
Chronic hyponatremia may be treated in some cases with fluid restriction. Severe hyponatremia or hyponatremia that comes on rapidly is treated by infusions of intravenous sodium solutions in the hospital. Other treatments include medications to manage headache pain, nausea and vomiting, and seizures that may be related to hyponatremia.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.