Low Sodium Levels: Causes, Signs, and Management Plans for Hyponatremia
We all know that excessive amounts of sodium can be harmful to our health. In fact, excessive sodium consumption has been linked to congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and other diseases. While sodium has received a bad reputation, healthy levels of sodium intake don’t cause these problems. In fact, our bodies need sodium to carry out basic functions and sodium plays a key role in hydration. The real health issue lies with sodium imbalances.
While excess sodium can lead to disorders, not getting enough sodium can also lead to health problems. Low sodium levels can cause dehydration and hyponatremia — a condition where you don’t have enough sodium in your blood.
Here, we’ll show you everything you need to know about low sodium levels. You’ll learn about the connection between sodium and hydration and what constitutes the normal range of sodium content, and you’ll discover the causes and symptoms of hyponatremia. Plus, we’ll show you how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help fend off dehydration caused by an imbalance of electrolytes like sodium.
The Relationship Between Sodium and Hydration
We need more than just plain water to stay hydrated. We need a precise amount of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and magnesium. That’s because electrolytes play a key role in keeping us hydrated as well as sending neurotransmitter messages, enabling muscle movement, and balancing blood pH.
Sodium plays a significant role in hydration. For one, sodium triggers your thirst mechanism when dehydration sets in, encouraging you to replenish lost water and electrolytes. In addition, sodium works within the sodium-glucose cotransport system to make it easier for your body to absorb the water and electrolytes it needs for hydration.
Here’s how that system works. Glucose opens gateways, making it easier for water and sodium to enter cell membranes. It does this by reducing osmolality — the amount of pressure needed for substances to move through cell membranes. Once inside, sodium increases the speed at which electrolytes and body fluids are absorbed, helping to relieve dehydration fast.
When you have low sodium levels, your body can’t function optimally. You may develop dehydration thanks to an imbalance of sodium, making it even more difficult to restore proper hydration. Fortunately, there are ways to recognize if you’re suffering from dehydration, hyponatremia, or other conditions related to an abnormally low level of sodium.
Read on to find the warning signs and risk factors of low sodium levels. You’ll also learn how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS is a fast, low-cost, proven alternative to IV therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate dehydration.
Symptoms of Low Sodium Levels
Normal sodium levels are typically between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Anything below 135 mEq/L results in hyponatremia — abnormally low sodium levels — and anything higher than 145 mEq/L indicates hypernatremia, a condition where there is too much salt in your blood. To find your sodium level, you need to visit a doctor and take a blood test. Your doctor may also perform a urine test to detect urine sodium levels and physical examination.
You can suffer from both acute hyponatremia — typically lasting less than 48 hours — and chronic hyponatremia, which can occur over weeks. Acute hyponatremia, also known as symptomatic hyponatremia, is more serious and can result in serious symptoms that affect cognition and movement.
If you suspect you have low sodium levels, you may start to experience certain symptoms. Mild hyponatremia can include symptoms such as nausea and fatigue while severe acute cases can result in brain damage and death.
The most common symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Extreme thirst (polydipsia)
- Confusion and irritability
- Muscle cramps and muscle weakness
- Seizures, brain bleeding, and coma (severe cases)
Now that you know the signs of low sodium levels and how sodium is connected to dehydration, it’s important to understand the underlying causes of such sodium imbalances. By figuring out what leads to low sodium levels, you can create a treatment plan. This includes using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS to quickly manage dehydration caused by sodium imbalances.
Causes of Low Sodium Levels
Low sodium levels can be caused by a host of factors. Medications, medical conditions, and fluid loss from sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting can all lead to hyponatremia. Certain risk factors including age can also heighten the chance of developing low blood sodium levels. Older adults and young children are more susceptible to electrolyte and fluid imbalances.
Here are some of the main causes of low sodium levels:
- Certain medications: Taking diuretics, water pills, and antidepressants can increase the risk of sodium imbalances.
- Excessive sweating: Our bodies use sweat to regulate body temperature. As you get hot, your body releases water and electrolytes to the surface of your skin where it evaporates, producing a cooling effect. When we sweat profusely, we can’t always replace lost fluids and electrolytes like sodium as quickly as we lose it, so hyponatremia can follow.
- Illnesses that cause diarrhea and vomiting: The same goes for when we’re sick. If you vomit or have diarrhea from an infection, you may not be able to replenish fluids and electrolytes quickly enough, resulting in low serum sodium levels.
- Certain medical conditions: Kidney failure, kidney disease, adrenal gland diseases, hormone disorders, and liver disease can all increase the risk of hyponatremia. Addison’s disease and Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion (SIADH) are among the main risk factors of low sodium levels.
- Vasopressin hormone imbalances: vasopressin — also known as antidiuretic hormone (ADH) is a hormone that regulates your ability to retain fluids and electrolytes. If you don’t produce proper amounts of vasopressin, you may suffer from low sodium levels and an increased risk of dehydration. Certain types of cancer, diabetes insipidus, an underactive thyroid, and Guillain-Barre syndrome can affect vasopressin production.
- Hypervolemia: This condition is characterized by too much water in your system. It’s also known as overhydration and can occur when trying to restore fluid and electrolyte levels too quickly. It can also occur if you have an underlying medical condition that causes your body to retain too much water.
Identifying the underlying causes of hyponatremia is the first step in developing a treatment. Read on to learn more about how to manage low sodium levels and how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help when dehydration is involved.
Treatment of Low Sodium Levels
The treatment of hyponatremia includes using oral rehydration solutions like DripDrop ORS, intravenous fluids, and medications. The treatments are designed to address fluid intake and sodium intake, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Severe hyponatremia may require hospitalization, and most treatments focus on treating the underlying cause of the low sodium levels. You may need to adjust your fluid intake, reduce the amount of water you drink, or stop taking certain medications depending on if your hyponatremia is caused by a medical condition or other factors.
If your low sodium levels are caused by mild to moderate dehydration, the best course of action is to drink an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. It’s powerful to be used in the most extreme conditions, but safe enough to be used everyday.
The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards with its delicious taste. The result is a medically viable ORS that also tastes great. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.
Manage Dehydration Caused By Low Sodium Levels With DripDrop
Medical-grade DripDrop ORS allows you to treat and prevent mild to moderate dehydration outside of a hospital setting, without the need for costly and painful IV therapy. Our patented formula is powerful enough to help patients suffering from dehydration caused by Ebola and cholera, but safe enough for everyday use. Plus, DripDrop ORS tastes amazing, and comes in a variety of flavors you can enjoy hot or cold.
When you have low sodium levels caused by dehydration, water alone is not enough — you also need a precise amount of sodium and other electrolytes. In fact, your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus, DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium, which are essential to support your overall health.
For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. Its convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, learn more about how you can save up to 25% on every purchase when you subscribe.