Sodium Deficiency: What Are The Symptoms?

A sodium deficiency can trigger many uncomfortable symptoms. The value of the mineral should only fluctuate slightly, as it forms a delicate balance with other minerals.

What are the causes of sodium deficiency?

A sodium deficiency (hyponatremia) is rarely caused by improper nutrition. Because sodium is supplied to the body to almost 90 percent via table salt, and salt consumption tends to be too high in Germany. When the symptoms of sodium deficiency show up, the causes are usually different.

In addition, a distinction must be made between an absolute and a relative sodium deficiency. In the case of absolute sodium deficiency, there is too little sodium in the blood. The relative lack of sodium, on the other hand, is caused by excessive dilution of the blood and malfunctions in important organs such as the heart, kidneys, or liver.

Possible causes that lead to a sodium deficiency:

  • Kidney disease leading to salt loss
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • inflammation of the pancreas
  • intestinal obstruction
  • burns
  • Taking water medication (diuretics)

Sodium deficiency: what are the symptoms?

Mild hyponatremia is present when blood sodium levels are below 135 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A moderate sodium deficiency is expressed by blood values ​​of 125 to 129 mmol/l and values ​​below 125 mmol/l are considered to be severe sodium deficiency.

If the value falls below 115 mmol/l, this has a direct effect on the body cells: water is shifted into the interior of the cell. This can lead to brain swelling and even coma. Values ​​below 110mml/l are acutely life-threatening and must be treated as soon as possible.

The symptoms of mild sodium deficiency are:

  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • headache
  • Muscle aches
  • states of confusion and
  • cardiac arrhythmias

What is the treatment for sodium deficiency?

In the treatment of sodium deficiency symptoms, the therapy of chronic underlying diseases is in the foreground. A slight sodium deficiency in acute diarrheal diseases with vomiting is quickly regulated by normal nutrition. The classic home remedy, pretzel sticks, can help with vomiting. In small children and older people, the loss of minerals may have to be compensated for by the administration of electrolytes.

If symptoms of severe sodium deficiency appear, they must be treated clinically. Treatment is then by intravenous administration of a hypertonic sodium chloride solution. At the same time, drainage medication is administered to prevent the sodium level from rising too quickly. If medicines are responsible for the sodium deficiency symptoms, the doctor must replace them with an alternative preparation or adjust the dose.

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