Hyponatremia is a medical condition in which the sodium level in the bloodstream becomes abnormally low. Under normal circumstances, the sodium level ranges between 135-145 milliequivalents per liter (meq/L). When sodium reaches below 135 meq/L, doctors call it as hyponatremia.
Sodium is essential for the functioning of the muscles and nervous system of the body. It also helps to maintain the blood pressure level within the standard range. A person may require immediate medical intervention if hyponatremia becomes critical. Read on to know more about the causes of hyponatremia and a few ways to prevent it:
Causes of Hyponatremia
Here are few medical and lifestyle factors which are probable causes of hyponatremia.
- Side-effects of medication: Certain medications such as diuretics, analgesics, and antidepressant pills may alter the functioning of specific hormones and kidney, which may ultimately lower the sodium level in the blood to 135 meq/L units or less.
- Heart, liver, and kidney disorders: Individuals suffering from heart, liver, and kidney disorders have a high probability of developing hyponatremia. These medical conditions lead to fluid accumulation in the body which may dilute the sodium concentration and ultimately lower its level in the bloodstream.
- High level of Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH): There is a medical condition known as “syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone (SIADH)” where the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) gets stimulated. It leads to water retention in the body and the formation of less quantity of urine. This increases the level of sodium in the blood and can be a cause of hyponatremia.
- Dehydration: Sometimes one may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea which may ultimately lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in the body fluids. The ADH level in the blood also increases to retain the water. This can lead to hyponatremia. Rehydrating the body with electrolyte solution either orally or intravenously helps to manage the condition.
Prevention of Hyponatremia
Though hyponatremia is an acute medical condition which may lead to many complications, yet there are ways of preventing its occurrence. Here is a list of some measures which one can use to avoid hyponatremia.
- Drinking water in moderation: It is always recommended to drink too much water. An excess of water will change the concentration of body fluids. Thirst and urine are the best indicators of the hydration level in the body. When one does not feel thirsty or if the urine is pale in color, it indicates that there is enough water in the body so one doesn’t need to continue drinking water.
- Drink sports beverages during workouts and practice sessions: When one takes part in intense activities like marathons, triathlons, and swimming, it is better to consume sports beverages containing all essential electrolytes instead of water.