While low-sodium diets are being touted as a major health booster these days, there is also such a thing as having too little sodium in your system. Indeed, the presence of low sodium levels in the blood in relation to high water levels, a condition known as hyponatremia, can lead to a number of health problems. Working with your health care provider, you can bring up low sodium levels and restore your body's electrolyte balance for optimal health.
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Be on the lookout for symptoms of low sodium levels, such as a feeling of disorientation, muscle weakness, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, or confusion. You may be at risk for the condition if you're over 50, have recently participated in a high-intensity activity such as a marathon, if you are currently undergoing chemotherapy, have kidney disease, or if you've just consumed excessive amounts of water or diuretics. Other risk factors include consumption of the recreational drug Ecstasy, sudden exposure to a hot climate, or a strict low-sodium diet.
Visit your health care provider immediately if you've experienced any of the above symptoms and suspect that you have low sodium levels. In the meantime, ask a health care provider about what you can do to bring up low sodium levels. She may recommend cutting back on water consumption until your appointment, for example. During the appointment, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and administer a blood test and urine test to verify whether or not your sodium levels are low.
Follow your health care provider's instructions for bringing up low sodium levels, which may include temporarily reducing your water or diuretic intake until sodium levels are restored. When sodium levels are dangerously low, your doctor may treat you with intravenous drugs, prescription medications, or hormone therapy.
Talk to your doctor about other ways you can bring up low sodium levels to prevent a case of hyponatremia in the future. He may suggest treatment for other conditions that can affect low sodium levels, such as adrenal problems. Other preventive measures include drinking no more than the recommended daily intake of water: eight glasses of water per day, and making sure to only drink as much as you sweat during intense activities (generally about 1 litre (2 pints) per hour).
Tips and warnings
- Always consult with your doctor about new medications that may increase your risk of low sodium levels, and educate yourself about the risks associated with taking a diuretic medication such as water pills.
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