What is hyponatremia?

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Hyponatremia is a biological abnormality characterized by an alteration in the metabolism of water. For what is this? Who is affected? How to treat it?

Hyponatremia is not a symptom or a disease, but a biological abnormality. "It is defined by a decrease in the concentration of sodium in the blood, with a value of less than 135 mmol / l," explains Dr. Alexandre Decourt, a nephrologist at the Médipôle Saint-Roch Elsan clinic, Cabestany. Since the concentration of sodium in the blood is the concentration of sodium in the blood plasma, this means that the dilution of body fluids is too great. The normal serum sodium level is between 135 and 145 mmol / l plasma.

What are the causes of hyponatremia?

There are primary and rarer causes.

"The main reasons for hyponatremia are excessive water consumption during the day, taking diuretic medications, for example, in hypertensive patients or in people with chronic kidney failure or heart failure," says the nephrologist. In hospitalized people, excessive infusion of glucose solution can also cause hyponatremia."

Other rarer causes can also lead to hyponatremia. "This is the case in people suffering from syndrome of inappropriate secretion of the antidiuretic hormone or SIADH, diseases of the pituitary, lung or brain tumors," said the doctor.

The important thing is not to worry about your blood sugar level, listen to your thirst and drink when you feel the need.

"In fact, we must pay attention to messages from public authorities that recommend drinking water regularly without waiting for thirst, because these prevention messages are aimed at healthy people, who do not suffer from chronic diseases," warns Dr. Decourt. However, some patients, such as those with heart failure or kidney failure, should not drink more than a liter and a half a day.

Hyponatremia: what are the symptoms?

"Hyponatremia must be severe for symptoms to appear," said the nephrologist. Excess water causes cells to swell imperceptibly, except in the brain, the signs are as follows: nausea, vomiting, lethargy, confusion "They are not specific.

"Therefore, it is rare to diagnose hyponatremia by clinical examination," says the doctor. It is revealed during a blood ionogram."

The first treatment is to prevent people with hyponatremia from drinking. "They should not drink more than 500 ml per day," says the nephrologist. Returning to normal blood sugar levels can be quick - about three days.

But sometimes hyponatremia is chronic. She testifies of a serious illness: cancer, severe heart failure, liver cirrhosis.

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