Hyponatremia : Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Do you often suffer from confusion, cramps or nausea? If so, there is a high chance that you might have become a victim of hyponatremia which has caused due to the deficiency of sodium in your body. Giving rise to other critical health conditions, the disease can become fatal and life-threatening unless proper treatment procedure is followed.

Hyponatremia: Overview

Amidst the disease-ridden society, the sodium disorders are the usual electrolyte abnormalities that are prevalent in clinics. After undergoing certain medical examinations, the disease is detected and the chances related mortality or morbidity cannot be discarded. Even the studies indicate that the disease is associated with cerebral oedema, convulsions and coma.

Hyponatremia is common sodium disorders which can become jeopardize one’s life if there is no proper treatment received at the right time. For treating such sodium diseases, plasma osmolality plays an integral role and the diagnosis status after checking medical history, tests and laboratory studies.

One can notice that the hyponatremia relates to various factors which include sodium being diluted in the body, drinking too much water and certain medical conditions. In the chronic cases, osmotic demyelination is a huge risk and the intake of sodium serum does not require crossing the prescribed amount, i.e. 4-8 mmol/i/day.

Causes of Hyponatremia

If there is low sodium level in the prevalence of hypo-osmolality, true hyponatremia takes place. Since sodium regulates the blood pressure level and maintains the functions of muscles and nerves in the body, the mineral plays a huge role. It can take care of body fluid balance for averting the risk of critical health conditions.

The regular level of sodium in blood should be 145 and 135 milliequivalents in every litre and the disease develops when the level of sodium goes down below 135 milliequivalents per litre.

Hormonal Imbalance

There are certain hormones that can leave a negative effect on blood sodium level and syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone or SIADH has the capability of retaining water. Also Addison’s disease can affect the hormone which helps to maintain electrolyte in the body. Low level of thyroid hormone can lead to sodium imbalance in blood.

Drinking Too Much Water

Drinking water is supposed to be the best cure for all problems, right? But drinking too much water has its consequences as it can result in diluting the sodium level in blood. During the sports activities, the players sweat too much and the result of perspiration leads to dehydration.

Athletes during marathon or triathlons drink too much water which leads to loss of sodium through the sweat.

Certain Diseases

Hyponatremia can be caused due to excessive body fluid or water that can dilute the regular amount of sodium for keeping up the concentration low. This type of health condition can lead to chronic diseases like congestive heart failure and kidney failure. When the excessive amount of fluid cannot be discharged, the condition can cause kidney problems.

A cognitive heart condition can also affect the fluid that accumulates in the body leading to dilution of sodium in body keeping the level low. In addition to the context, cirrhosis of liver, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency can result in hyponatremia.

Vomiting and Dehydration

When you suffer from diarrhoea or vomiting, you end up losing a huge amount of electrolytes form your body that can lead to the imbalance of sodium in the blood. Additionally, the condition can even increase the ADH level.


Antidepressant pills and painkillers often act as determinants in developing the sodium disorder like hyponatremia. The medicines create problems in kidney functions and disturb the regular hormonal processes that have a significant effect on the sodium concentration.

Sulfonylurea, vasopressin and diuretics drugs can possess threat for low sodium level among people.

Drug overdose with ecstasy is related to the development of hyponatremia. If an infant drinks tap water and not a proper electrolyte solution, the baby can develop the disease.

Symptoms of Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia shows certain neurological problems and nausea and headache are common signs of the disorder. If there an acute loss of sodium in the blood, the brain suffers from osmotic swelling and osmotic changes that can increase rapidly. This is one of the causes of cerebral oedema and the patients with critical cases of hyponatremia can face the consequences of convulsions and coma.

The common symptoms that are seen among the patients,

  • Seizure
  • Weariness
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Mental changes
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Irritability or restless
  • Headache

Who might be in Risk of Developing Hyponatremia?

The disease developing due to electrolyte abnormality in the body has its chronic effects. Low body weight and specific drugs can influence lowering the sodium level in blood. One of the study results shows that the medicines including antipsychotics and thiazides have the potential to increase the risk. In addition to the context, people who deal with alcoholism, heart failure, lung cancer, hypothyroidism and liver disease are likely to have a huge risk.

Continuous Physical Activities

Athletes or players taking part in intensive physical activities like triathlons, marathons and ultra-marathons have a higher risk of developing the problem. Moreover, one can suffer after the long-distance running as the person tends to drink more water or other fluids that can result in an imbalance.


Elderly people are more susceptible to become a victim due to undergoing the age-related changes. Also the older adults have a high risk of developing chronic health conditions that can jeopardise the regular amount of sodium in the blood. Even the adults who have encountered the same disease previously can suffer from the consequences of it again.

As there are various medical conditions that lead to such condition, it is important to note that the syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic and kidney diseases can negative effects on the body. If one excessively takes tea and toast diet and potomania can be a victim of the disease.

The risk among the patients hospitalized in intensive care unit or the people taking hypotonic fluid can be a victim of this sodium disorder. Moreover, schizophrenia can possess certain threats for developing sodium imbalance in blood.

Are there any Complications?

Hyponatremia is generally categorised in two sections – chronic and acute.

  • Severe complications are associated with critical health conditions like herniation of brain, brain disorder, cerebral oedema, seizure, death, coma mad cardiopulmonary arrest in acute hyponatremia.
  • Mainly neurological issues arise with the chronic hyponatremia resulting in osteoporosis and brain fracture. Even sodium level drastically drops within 2 days showing certain symptoms.

Women during premenopausal phase have a great risk of suffering from this disease since female sex hormones are related to sodium level.

Advice on Management of Hyponatremia

The prevalent risks with hyponatremia can be fatal and this is why, the health condition requires quick correction following proper management to avert the risks. If a person develops the disorder over a long period, proper compensatory transitions are required to be brought to his/her life.

  • Major risk related to hyponatremia is osmotic demyelination leading to premature mortality or neurological problems.
  • People suffering from malnourishment, alcoholism and hypokalemia have a huge risk of developing the hyponatremia.
  • The diagnosis process might be difficult among ventilated and sedated patients.
  • The clinical features may vary which involved paraplegia, locked-in syndrome, bulbar problems and quadriplegia.
  • For treating osmotic demyelination, acute lowering of the serum sodium is followed with the help of dextrose.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The medical professionals initiate the diagnosis process with a set of questions and the run few medical tests. The signs and symptoms generally vary from person to person and one physical examination can never determine the disease. This is why, the healthcare professionals usually opt for urine tests and blood tests for proceeding with further treatment.

For treating an acute or chronic disease, it is important to take effective measures for initiating the correct diagnosis. Moderate or chronic hyponatremia can be a result of diuretics, diet and drink too many fluids. Nevertheless, adjusting intake of fluid on a daily basis can never be the go-to-solution in every case.

Intravenous Fluids and Medications

The healthcare professional can prescribe IV solution containing sodium for increasing the sodium level in the blood. One may have to be hospitalised for monitoring and rapid correction of diagnosis can lead to severe consequences.

In order to get relief from seizures, nausea, headaches and other signs and symptoms of the disease, certain medications can be helpful.


This is an oral V2 receptor antagonist that is recommended to the patients dealing with cirrhosis, heart failure or SIADH. Positive effects including short-term and long-term results are to be seen and the sodium level remains in control. In addition to the context, decreased abdominal girth and enhanced ascites control along with better sodium levels are detected with the test of Satavaptan.

However, the side-effects of the solution include hypotension demyelination, hypertension, pyrexia and thirst.

Many of the medical professionals perceive that hyponatremia only indicates the low level of sodium in the blood and they end up concentrating on isotonic saline administration only. However, it is vital to remember that hypovolemic hyponatremia can only be properly treated with isotonic saline.

Prevention of Hyponatremia

There are certain ways to prevent the condition of the low level of sodium and this is why, you need to check whether you might be taking any water pills which have been decreasing your sodium level. Even if you notice that there is adrenal gland insufficiency in your body, there might be a high risk of developing the sodium disease.

Most importantly, one should keep an eye on the intake of drinking or other fluids. You can further check the colour of your urine and in case, there is any certain change, it is best to consult with the medical professional. Doctor’s advice on drinking beverage can be widely helpful and drinks with electrolytes are beneficial for people facing a high risk of hyponatremia.

Prepare Yourself for Appointment

When a person develops the symptoms of the signs of the disease including seizures, lost consciousness, confusion or vomiting, it is vital to seek immediate care for the person. Even if you notice that there is a high risk of developing the disease, consult with a medical professional at once. Once the healthcare professional checks the symptoms and signs, the doctor can advise medical care accordingly.

Things to Keep in Mind

Before you pay a visit to the medical professional, you need to make a list of all the symptoms that you have undergoing lately. You need to write down whether you have been taking any medications or medical supplements. Even you make a set of questions that you must ask the doctor to know what your physical condition is.

Questions to Ask the Doctor

In order to know whether you are a victim of acute or chronic hyponatremia, you can ask questions of the doctor.

  • Can I suffer from long-term effects? Am I at a huge risk?
  • Why am I suffering from Hyponatremia? What are the causes?
  • What kind of treatment should I follow?
  • How soon am I likely to recover?
  • Should I bring certain changes in my habit of drinking water or any other fluid?
  • What are the prevention methods I should follow for averting future risks?

Probable Questions Asked by Doctor

There are certain questions that your physician can ask you before coming to a conclusion that you are suffering from low level of sodium.

  • Have you ever had any experiences of nausea or seizures in past?
  • Have you recently started taking any new medications?
  • What are the symptoms that you have been facing lately?
  • Have you experienced any mental changes including feeling depressed, confused or agitated in recent time?
  • Do you take any recreational drugs?
  • Have you suffered from a progressively bad condition of a headache before?

The disease can develop over days or months and quick correction of sodium level can cause brain injury, osmotic demyelination or premature death. Henceforth, serum sodium correction along with regular saline or vasopressin receptor can be undertaken by the medical professionals. It is best to consult a physician after checking the common signs and symptoms for limiting the risks of further complications which can even lead to coma.

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