When You Have Too Little Or Too Much Sodium

The most abundant positive electrolyte in your extracellular fluid is sodium. These ion types function a great deal in maintaining water balance, transmitting your nerve impulses and the contraction of your muscles. The normal concentration for the electrolyte sodium is 135 to 145 mEq/L. Take a few minutes or seconds of your time to learn about the facts of sodium, and what may happen if you have too much or too little of it in your body.

The Relationship Of Sodium And Water

Whenever there is sodium, water tends to go in as well. For example if your kidneys has so much sodium then they will also have plenty of water inside. And the kidneys in your urinary system will excrete sodium then water is excreted as well. Many medications use the basic principle of the relationship of sodium and water to treat you of your disease. For example many diuretic medications that promote urination are based on the regulation of sodium.

Foods High In Sodium

Sodium is regulated by your intake of salt, hormones such as aldosterone, urinary output. If you eat food that contains too much table salt, are processed, snack types (chips and other chemically altered ones) or canned, then the sodium levels in your body may go up.

When you decrease your intake of foods that contain sodium you may lose body fluids. Or when you have burns or trauma your body may attempt to conserve your sodium levels through the secretion of aldosterone (which is another regulator for sodium). Aldosterone will influence the tubules of your kidneys to try and reabsorb sodium, thus returning the sodium ion into your extracellular fluid.

In persons with a normal urinary system the releasing of sodium wastes through urination may be increased to keep a balance of your fluids and electrolytes.

Too Little Sodium

The condition of having too little sodium in the body is also known as hyponatremia. If your sodium levels drop, water will move inside your cells to balance the fluid and electrolytes that you have. This will make the cells big and bloated. This could be dangerous because the cells in your skull may cause your brain to swell, causing abnormalities in your mental status such as confusion, hallucinations, and dizziness or even put you into a coma. You may also suffer from fatigue, loss of appetite, cramps or muscle weakness if you are low in sodium

Hyponatremia is caused by burns, diarrhea, kidney disorders, liver problems, too much sweating, too much vomiting, congestive heart failures or the overuse of diuretic medications. In order for you to manage hyponatremia, then you need to avoid drinking too much water or take medications.

Too Much Sodium

Hypernatremia is the term used to describe too much sodium inside your body. It is caused by too much loss of water in your body like extreme sweating, too much urination because of renal disorders. Signs and symptoms of hypernatremia include confusion, changes in your mental status, coma, and some abnormalities in neuromuscular activity such as twitches and seizures. Hypernatremia may be dangerous and life threatening so important interventions is required. Urgent referral to the hospital is needed as the possibility of dying is imminent. If anybody in your family knows how to do intravenous insertion then do it as soon as possible before going to the hospital, use a half normal saline (0.5% NSS) and start it at a fast hourly volume rate of 100mL/h. Water can be taken orally or intravenously whenever signs of hypernatremia occur. But you should be careful in managing hypernatremia on your own because too much water in your system may cause your brain cells to swell and lead to cerebral edema and death.


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