Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Hyponatremia (Low Sodium)
What Is Hyponatremia?
Hyponatremia is an electrolyte
imbalance and is indicated by a low level of sodium in the blood.
The normal adult value for sodium is 136-145 mEq/L. Sodium is an element,
or an electrolyte, that is found in the blood. Sodium chloride is known commonly
as table salt.
Causes of Hyponatremia:
Certain conditions may cause a lack of sodium in the blood. Specific causes of hyponatremia
Water intoxication (water replacement without replacement of blood electrolytes).
Kidney, heart or liver problems.
Conditions related to steroid, hormone or defects in your metabolism such as:
Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone (SIADH) - This occurs when a hormone,
ADH, is not being properly regulated. You may be urinating frequently, and your
kidneys are excreting too much sodium. This may occur as a result of many conditions,
including certain types of lung cancer.
Symptoms of Hyponatremia:
You may not have any symptoms, unless your blood sodium levels are significantly
The presence of symptoms is noticed with abrupt changes in your sodium level. If
your sodium levels have declined gradually, you may not notice any symptoms of hyponatremia.
Confusion, or coma, with a significant drop in blood sodium levels.
Things You Can Do For Hyponatremia:
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions regarding increasing your blood sodium
level. If your blood test results show sodium levels are severely decreased, he
or she may suggest that you restrict your water intake
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can cause you to have electrolyte disturbances.
Follow all of your healthcare provider's recommendations for follow up blood work
and laboratory tests.
Drugs That May Be Prescribed by Your Doctor:
When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:
- A sudden episode of confusion, or disorientation.
- Muscle weakness.
- Poor appetite that does not improve.
- Shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort; should be evaluated immediately.
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Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
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