Monday, 25 February 2013

Sodium (Salt) Deficiency Symptoms: Causes And Treatment Of Deficiency Of Sodium

Sodium deficiency, or hyponatremia, is a term used when the body's balance of electrolytes becomes unstable. There may be too much fluid in the system, diluting the sodium, or the sodium levels themselves may be too low. While sodium deficiency can occur on its own, it can also develop because of excessive diarrhea or vomiting. Another way that it can develop is when someone experiences excessive fluid buildup, or edema, when the body cannot expel the excess water as quickly as it builds up.
Sodium is an electrolyte the body needs to help regulate blood pressure and ensure muscle and nerve cells work properly. Normal blood sodium levels fall between 135 and 145 mEq/L. When the sodium (salt) level drops below 130, the symptoms of a deficiency start manifesting. Levels of 125 or lower are risky and may cause seizures.
Recognizing the symptoms of sodium deficiency is important because when left untreated, the condition may lead to death.
Someone experiencing a mild case of sodium deficiency may not exhibit any symptoms. More advanced cases may lead to fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. If a person experiencing sodium deficiency begins vomiting, the disease accelerates much quicker, due to the electrolyte imbalances that occur when sick. In severe cases of sodium deficiency, the symptoms are mostly neurological. They include confusion, the loss of reflexive movement, convulsions, and, eventually,coma.
The treatment for sodium deficiency includes water restriction, intravenous saline, and the administration of diuretics. It is important that someone receiving treatment for this illness receives careful monitoring, because excessively rapid stabilization can lead to heart failure. If the patient develops sodium deficiency because of another health condition, such as food poisoning, that led to excessive vomiting and diarrhea, physicians will treat the initial illness as well.

Gastrointestinal Distress
Some symptoms of low sodium include gastrointestinal distress. The condition may cause a decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting. If a person with low sodium levels experiences vomiting, the hyponatremia may continue to worsen.

Cognitive Impairment
Decreased sodium levels may cause altered mental status. Most of the tissues in the body can handle the expanding tissue cells caused by the hyponatremia, but the brain cannot compensate for the increased cell size. Brain dysfunction may occur because of the changes. Symptoms of this impairment include a headache, lethargy, fatigue and confusion. As the condition worsens, a person may experience irritability and hallucinations. A decreased level of consciousness, a coma and possibly death may also occur when blood sodium levels drop.

Muscular Problems
Low levels of sodium in the blood may cause symptoms involving muscles in the body. Symptoms include problems such as spasms or cramps. Muscles may experience fatigue easily when a person has low sodium levels. Muscular weakness and seizures are additional signs of a sodium deficiency.

Severity of Symptoms
The symptoms of low blood sodium levels may vary depending on the severity of the condition. A person with a slow decrease in sodium levels may not experience any symptoms, while a person with a rapid decrease in sodium levels may have severe symptoms, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Age may also play a role in the severity of symptoms associated with low sodium levels. Older individuals may experience more severe symptoms than a younger person with the same sodium levels. General health also plays a role in symptoms because an aged, chronically ill person tends to develop more severe symptoms than a healthy, young person. Without proper treatment to correct the imbalance, the symptoms of sodium deficiency will worsen.

What are deficiency symptoms for sodium in human body ?
Low levels of salt in the body cause various symptoms and effects. The following are the common manifesting signs:
·         Disorientation
·         Fatigue
·         Headache
·         Nausea
·         Muscle cramps
·         Sever complications are neurological symptoms such as seizures and coma,; swelling and reduced muscle functioning.
·         excessive sweating,
·         Deficiency may lead to nausea, muscular weakness, heat exhaustion, and mental apathy. 

Causes Of Salt Deficiency
·         An abnormal intake / excretion of sodium or water and disorders that damage the body’s capacity to normalize them
·         Often develops in patients taking diuretics and restricted the salt intake.
·         Severe diarrhea causes a loss of large quantities of sodium
·         Consuming excessive water dilutes the sodium in the blood.
·         Excessive consumption of beer, (chiefly water and low in sodium), produces low sodium levels

Salt Deficiency Treatment
·         A severe deficiency is treated by infusing a 5 % sodium chloride solution in water in to the patient’s blood.
·         Moderate salt deficiency, primarily because of diuretics / an increase in vasopressin is managed by drinking less amounts of water.
·         Deficiency or salt loss due to adrenal gland insufficiency is handled with hormone injections.
·         Whilst sodium deficiency is easily corrected, the prospect for the underlying disorder that causes the symptom varies.
In case of mild deficiency of sodium chloride, taking a teaspoon of common salt in a pint of water or in any fruit juice, quickly restores health. In severe conditions, however, administration of sodium chloride in the form of normal saline by an intravenous route may be resorted to.

Sodium deficiency is sometimes called water intoxication. In some cases, athletes, particularly distance athletes, develop water intoxication while competing. It is most common in marathon runners. The runner, in his or her quest to remain hydrated, drinks so much water that the levels of sodium in the blood are diluted.
To avoid the risk of water intoxication, athletes can alternate drinking water with sports drinks while running, or use sports gels or other electrolyte replacement supplements. It is important to try the electrolyte supplementation products you plan to use before race day. Many people drink one particular brand of supplement during their training runs.
A different brand of sports drink on race day can lead to an upset stomach. The runner then often switches to drinking only water to avoid the discomfort, increasing the risk of developing hyponatremia. If the sports drink the race is serving does not agree with you, pack some sports gels so that you can safely stick with water through the race.


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