When there is shortage of sodium in the body fluids, this condition is called hyponatremia. It is also called by other names like dilutional hyponatremia and hypervolemic hyuponatremia. This occurs when there is imbalance in the ions of the metabolism. When the normal level of sodium in the blood reduces due to some reason, this disorder is said to develop.
Sodium is one of the essential nutrients that our body requires to regulate blood pressure, to maintain balance of fluids and for carrying out normal functions of nervous system.
Hyponatremia occurs when there is shortage of sodium ions in the body fluids. It is also caused by water intoxication since as soon as there is scarcity of sodium ions in the blood, water moves into the cells to restore balance, which may cause swelling. Though every cell of the body develops inflammation, it can somewhat balance the position. But this is not the case with brain cells which gets most affected by this condition.
The following three conditions are known to cause hyponatremia in our body.
- When the water content of the body increases, without increase in sodium ions, this condition is described as euvolemic hyponatremia.
- Hypervolemic hyponatremia is a situation in which there would be increase in both water content and sodium ions in the body, but comparatively, water particles will be more than the other.
- Hypovolemic hyponatremia is a process when there is sudden loss of water as well as sodium ions in the body, but the loss of sodium ions will be more than water.
- Some of the other causes of hyponatremia are diarrhea, vomiting, congestive heart failure, kidney problem, cirrhosis (liver) and having diuretic drugs which discharge more urine from the body.
- Sometimes, having more water while doing strenuous exercise, will give rise to increased water particles and reduce sodium ions.
Your mental state will be disrupted and you may have confusion and disturbance in concentrating. Some people complain of having hallucinations and delusions and they would also have neurological problem like convulsions.
Other symptoms of reduced sodium content in blood include vomiting, headache, irritability, and nausea, loss of appetite, muscle spasms and restlessness.
Your doctor may first examine your body and look for the above symptoms. He may also do osmalality blood
testing, test for assessing blood sodium level, and urine sodium.
First exact reason that has caused reduction of sodium level in blood is to be identified and removed. Depending on the health condition of the patient, your doctor may put you on intravenous fluids or give medications that contain sodium. You should also restrict the intake of water until you become normal.
If you are athlete or in the habit of doing strenuous exercise regimen, then make sure that you drink fluids that contain balanced electrolytes instead of just water.