Metro Renal Associates
Nephrologists located in Washington, DC & Capitol Heights, MD
Low levels of sodium in your blood, or hyponatremia, is a common electrolyte disorder that often affects those who take certain medications and can lead to impaired mental abilities or even life-threatening side effects. If you or a loved one aren’t acting like usual and the changes seem sudden, the team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, can diagnose whether hyponatremia is the cause. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Hyponatremia Q & A
What is hyponatremia?
Your blood naturally contains a certain level of sodium, an electrolyte. Electrolytes help regulate the water within your cells, as well as the water surrounding them.
When your sodium levels drop to abnormal levels, your body lacks the proper electrolytes needed to control water levels, leading to swelling in your cells. This lack of sodium is called hyponatremia.
What causes hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia has no single cause, though potential causes can range from the mundane to serious underlying medical conditions. Some of the most common causes include:
Certain medications can interfere with your body’s natural processes that keep your sodium levels in check. These tend to include pain medications, diuretics, and antidepressants, which can affect your hormonal and kidney functioning.
Drinking too much water
Though it seems strange to think that drinking water could somehow harm you, drinking an excess of water can overburden your kidneys’ ability to filter and excrete that water. This ultimately dilutes the sodium levels in your blood.
Certain medical conditions
Conditions affecting your kidney, liver, or heart can cause excess fluid to build up in your body, diluting sodium levels.
What are the symptoms of hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia symptoms aren’t always easily identifiable, as it shares symptoms with a variety of other medical conditions. Mental impairment or confusion is one of the most telling signs of possible hyponatremia, though other symptoms may include:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Seizures or coma
These symptoms are especially problematic for older patients, as they can increase the risk of falling. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after starting a new medication or during or after exercise, you should seek immediate care.
How is hyponatremia treated?
If your hyponatremia stems from drinking too much water, the team at Metro Renal Associates might simply suggest cutting back on fluid intake or more carefully monitoring intake during exercise.
If other conditions are causing your hyponatremia, the team will treat that underlying condition and might provide an IV drip of electrolytes to help stabilize your sodium levels.
If you’re concerned about your sodium levels, let Metro Renal Associates help. Call the office or use online booking to schedule an appointment today.
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