Sodium regulates the circulation of body fluid. Health experts are largely concerned about the excess sodium content in the body, which increases the risk of water retention, edema, hypertension and heart failure. While too much sodium intake could be harmful for the body, if the sodium level falls to extremely low level, immense health complications would develop. This health condition characterized by extremely low level of sodium level in the blood is known as hyponatremia. When the sodium level in the blood falls, the water levels in the cells increase. As the water contents in the cells rise, the cells start to swell, producing several health hazards.
Causes of hyponatremia
Hyponatremia could develop from hypoglycemia, which develops when the blood sugar level falls to abnormally low level. Hypoglycemia is common among diabetics. If the blood sugar falls, excess water will be absorbed in the blood, raising the water content and reducing the sodium content in the blood. While drinking plenty of water throughout the day keeps you hydrated, drinking excess water can increase the risk of hyponatremia. You might develop hyponatremia if you drink at least four gallons of water each day.
If a person suffering from dehydration, suddenly increases excess water intake, hyponatremia could develop. The risk of hyponatremia increases after vomiting or diarrhea, when the patient drinks quickly to replenish the lost fluid. Water retention or edema is one of the major causes of hyponatremia in people suffering from heart diseases, cirrhosis of liver and nephritic syndrome. Certain underlying health disorders such as problems of the adrenal gland, hypothyroidism, brain trauma, pneumonia and tuberculosis can cause hyponatremia. The risk of hyponatremia increases, if you are on a low sodium and high water diet. Excess intake of diuretic medications eliminates sodium from the body.
Sudden fall in the sodium level could damage the brain. To treat hyponatremia, the sodium level in the blood is increased gradually. Intravenous fluids are administered to patients suffering from acute hyponatremia. If you are suffering from chronic, mild to moderate hyponatremia, you should limit fluid intake or modify consumption of diuretics to normalize the sodium content in the blood.