Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about hyponatremia in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Hyponatremia, also called water intoxication, is generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood.

During high intensity exercise, sodium is lost along with sweat. An athlete who only replaces the lost fluid with water will have a decreased blood-sodium concentration.

In hyponatremia, the sodium in your body becomes diluted. When this happens, your bodys water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to severe.

The early warning signs are often subtle and may be similar to dehydration. They include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, slurred speech and confusion. At this point, many people drink more water because they think they are dehydrated.

Depending on the cause of hyponatremia, you may simply need to cut back on how much you drink. In other cases of hyponatremia, you may need intravenous fluids and medications. If hyponatremia is severe it may result in seizures, coma or death.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.