What Causes Low Sodium in Elderly People? Medications such as diuretics, some types of antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. Decreased liver, heart, or kidney function. Illnesses that can cause dehydration such as pneumonia.
A low sodium level has many causes, including consumption of too many fluids, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and use of diuretics. Symptoms result from brain dysfunction.
Hyponatremia is decrease in serum sodium concentration < 136 mEq/L (< 136 mmol/L) caused by an excess of water relative to solute. Common causes include diuretic use, diarrhea, heart failure, liver disease, renal disease, and the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
Treatment includes discontinuation of offending drugs and treating any underlying conditions that might be contributing to hyponatremia. Free water restriction is helpful when the urine osmolality is not very high. Loop diuretics and salt tablets may be helpful if fluid restriction does not increase the serum sodium.
Hyponatremia occurs when your blood sodium level goes below 135 mEq/L. When the sodium level in your blood is too low, extra water goes into your cells and makes them swell. This swelling can be dangerous especially in the brain, since the brain cannot expand past the skull.
How to Increase Sodium Levels in Elderly People
Intravenous (IV) fluids with a high-concentration of sodium, and/or diuretics to raise your blood sodium levels. Loop Diuretics – also known as “water pills” as they work to raise blood sodium levels, by making you urinate out extra fluid.
Generally, low sodium is asymptomatic (does not produce symptoms), when it is mild or related to your diet. It can take weeks or months for you to experience the effects of low salt in your diet—and these effects can be corrected by just one day of normal salt intake.
Chronic, severe vomiting or diarrhea and other causes of dehydration. This causes your body to lose electrolytes, such as sodium, and also increases ADH levels. Drinking too much water. Drinking excessive amounts of water can cause low sodium by overwhelming the kidneys’ ability to excrete water.
Severe hyponatremia occurs when levels drop below 125 mEq/L. Health issues arising from extremely low sodium levels may be fatal. Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder that doctors encounter. Research suggests that approximately 1.7 percent of people in the United States have the condition.
In a population of individuals older than age 65 years who were living at home and who were without acute illness, a 7% incidence of serum sodium concentration of 137 mEq/L or less was observed. Similarly, there was an 11% incidence of hyponatremia in the population of a geriatric medicine outpatient practice.
Hyponatremia worsens the prognosis of heart and renal failure and increases mortality in hospitalized patients [27,28,29].
In severe cases, hypernatremia can lead to coma and death. Hypotonic dehydration (hyponatremia). Hyponatremia is what happens when you have too little sodium in your body. This can happen if you lose electrolytes and fluids together but only replace the lost fluids.
Symptoms of hyponatremia can be indistinguishable from ischemic stroke and include changes in consciousness, seizure, or coma. Other neurological symptoms that are commonly associated with strokes, such as weakness, numbness, or uncoordinated movements, can also be seen with hyponatremia.
In patients with severe symptomatic hyponatremia, the rate of sodium correction should be 6 to 12 mEq per L in the first 24 hours and 18 mEq per L or less in 48 hours. A bolus of 100 to 150 mL of hypertonic 3% saline can be given to correct severe hyponatremia.
One study found that less than 3,000 mg of sodium per day is linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes ( 14 ). Disturbingly, another study reported a higher risk of dying from heart disease at the lower sodium levels that many guidelines currently recommend ( 15 ).