This mineral is present in the blood and the interstitial fluid that bathes cells. The kidney uses aldosterone, a hormone, to regulate sodium excretion in urine depending on intake and on sodium levels in the body. As sodium can lead to high blood pressure, most people would do well to reduce their consumption. Refined and processed foods tend to be high in sodium. Salt occurs naturally in a very small of foods, including celery and milk.
While most Americans eat more sodium then they need, there are situations and medical conditions that can make your sodium levels drop too low.
Since a level of sodium either too high or too low can cause health problems, it is best to talk to your physician before taking supplements to prevent complications. Hyponatremia, or a low sodium level, is diagnosed when there is not enough sodium or salt in the body fluids outside the cells.
Your body needs some sodium to maintain blood pressure and for the muscle and nerves to work properly. A low level of sodium can occur if you drink excessive amounts of water which upsets the balance. This sodium and water balance can be affected by burns, heart disease, certain medications, illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea, kidney and liver disease and other underlying medical conditions.
The first step in treatment is to identify the underlying cause. Low sodium levels that are caused by diet, drinking too much water or as a side effect of a medication can usually be corrected by adjusting your medications and reducing fluid intake. If your hyponatremia is severe you may need to be hospitalized and given a sodium solution through an IV, and your doctor may prescribe medications to manage any symptoms you are having.
If your low sodium level is due to an underlying disease, treating that condition is essential to restore the proper balance. When the level of sodium in the blood gets too low, the sodium that is in the body may move into the cells and cause them to swell. If left untreated this can lead to organ damage and death especially if the cells within the brain swell.
Given the seriousness of this condition, it is vital to seek medical care. If your symptoms are mild, reducing water intake is the preferred method of treatment, notes the American Academy of Family Physicians.
In some cases your doctor may recommend increasing your salt intake through diet or supplementation. However, caution should be taken as too much sodium in the blood can be just as dangerous. Taking salt tablets may cause you to feel very thirsty which could lead to drinking too much water.
A slow and steady intake of salty foods plus reducing water intake is a better bet, according to Rice University. However, if your low sodium level is chronic, your physician can advise you on the best salt supplement and how much is safe to take.
Nutrition Nutrition Basics Vitamins and Supplements. Lori Newell.
I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences. Correcting a low sodium level with supplements may not be the best choice.
Low Sodium Levels.