Hyponatremia in Men

When the level of sodium in the blood gets extremely low, it results in a medical condition called Hyponatremia. Sodium, being an electrolyte helps in regulating the amount of water in and around the cells. The dilution of sodium can be caused by either any underlying condition or consuming excess water at the time of endurance sports. This results in rising water levels of the body and swelling of the cells. Many health problems may occur due to this and can even be life-threatening.

The treatment provided for hyponatremia aims at resolving this condition. This medical condition may require the consumption of intravenous fluids and medications.

Causes

Many factors are responsible for lowering the sodium content in the blood. Losing too much electrolytes and water can reduce the sodium levels or it may result from certain medical conditions. Some of the causes are mentioned as follows:

  • Liver disease
  • Using ecstasy tablets
  • Heart problems
  • Severe diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Kidney failure or disease
  • Dehydration
  • Consuming diuretics (water pills)
  • Taking medications like pain medications and antidepressants
  • Consuming too much water while exercising (rare condition)
  • Primary polydipsia
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Adrenal gland disorders like Addison’s disease
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH)
  • Cushing syndrome

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of lowering the blood sodium levels in men are:

  • Being on low-sodium diet
  • Taking anti-depressants
  • Old age
  • Being a high-performance sportsperson
  • Taking diuretics
  • Living in tropical climate zone

Men falling under these categories should be more careful about their water and electrolytes intake.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hyponatremia vary from men to men. Sudden fall of sodium levels has severe symptoms whereasgradual lowering of sodium levels graduallyexhibits different symptoms. Losing sodium is a medical emergency that can cause seizures, unconsciousness and even coma.

Common symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fatigue and reduced energy
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Spasms or muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Headache

Diagnosis

The doctor may begin the diagnosis by asking about the medical history of the patient and performing some physical examinations.

The symptoms of hyponatremia are also seen in other medical conditions, thus making it impossible to diagnose this, solely on the basis of physical examination. Therefore, the doctor may ask for blood tests and urine tests for confirming the condition of the patient.

Treatments

The treatment method that is provided depends upon the cause of hyponatremia. Some of the treatments include:

  • Infusion of intravenous (IV) sodium solution
  • Dosage of diuretics are adjusted
  • Cutting back on the intake of fluid
  • Treatment of underlying conditions
  • Medications provided for symptoms like seizures, headache and nausea

Prevention

Balancing the electrolyte and water levels can help in the prevention of low sodium levels in the blood. During exercise, the correct amount of water should be consumed.

Athletes should consider drinking rehydration beverage like Powerade or Gatorade. They contain electrolytes which help in keeping a balance in the body. These fluids are even helpful during diarrhoea or vomiting.

It is also important to increase fluid intake:

  • At higher altitudes
  • When the weather is warm
  • During vomiting
  • When having diarhhoea
  • During fever