Hyponatremia – Danger of Low Sodium

We have heard a lot about the importance of a low sodium diet. Excess sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, water retention and worsening of kidney and heart problems. However, serious health complications could even develop if enough sodium is not present in your body.

Danger of low sodium

Sodium is needed for regulating the fluid movement. Hyponatremia occurs when the serum sodium concentration falls below 136mEg/L. When the sodium content in the blood falls to abnormal low levels, the fluid content in the cells start rising. The cells begin swelling, producing serious health complications. To prevent hyponatremia, you should prevent conditions that would reduce the sodium count in your blood.


Dehydration is one of the prominent causes of hyponatremia. Dehydration can develop if your body loses excess water, and steps are not taken to replenish the water lost from the water. Excess sweating during the summer, diarrhea and vomiting are common circumstances when your body loses water. Along with the water, salts such as sodium dissolved in the water are also eliminated from your body. Plain water alone is not enough for treating dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. You should take oral rehydrating solution, containing sodium and other salts in the right ratios to prevent hyponatremia.

Drinking excess water

To stay hydrated, you should drink plenty of water. However, you will disturb the electrolyte balance in your body by drinking excess water. Hyponatremia could develop if you drink at least 4 gallons of water each day. Risk of hyponatremia is greatest among long distance runners, who drink too much water to quench their thirst. Excess water in the blood might cause electrolyte imbalance by diluting the sodium content in the blood.

Wrong diet

Fad diets, that ask you to reduce your sodium intake to abnormal low levels and increase your water intake, increase the risk of hyponatremia.

Overuse of diuretics

Overuse of diuretics could eliminate excess sodium from your body. It is always advisable to take diuretic medications according to your physician’s advice.

Side effects of medications

Certain antidepressants, pain relief medications and recreational drugs cause excessive perspiration and urination, eliminating excess sodium from the body.