Contributors: Yasira Sonnier and Dr. Emran from Simple Health Radio
On this episode of Simple Health Radio, Dr. Emran recalls a case involving an elderly man named “Gilbert”.
Gilbert was an 83-year-old man who had a history of Alzheimer’s Dementia. His wife bought him to the emergency room due to a fall the night before. He struck his head and had a mild bruise on his face. He had no fever, nausea or vomiting.
Dr. Emran initiated a full work up on Gilbert to identify any serious causes of the fall which includes a Urine sample, CT Scan of the brain, and bloodwork. All results appeared to be normal except for one value: Sodium.
Gilbert’s sodium level was 120, which was extremely low. It was clear that Gilbert was suffering from hyponatremia, also known as low sodium in the blood.
Sodium plays a key role in the body. It helps to maintain normal blood pressure, supports the work of nerves and muscles, and regulates your body’s fluid balance. A normal blood sodium level is between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
If the sodium in the blood is too low, hyponatremia occurs. It can happen because of certain medical infections such as pneumonia, medications for blood pressure, diuretics, or drinking an excessive amount of water.
As a result of low sodium, the amount of water in the body changes, causes cells to swell. Hyponatremia signs and symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, fatigue, muscle weakness, seizures, and death.
Because the symptoms of hyponatremia can vary so much from person to person, your doctor will order a blood and urine test to confirm the diagnosis. The best way to prevent hyponatremia is to educate yourself on the symptoms, pay attention to how much water you are drinking, and monitor your blood pressure.
Low sodium can be treated by adjusting the medications and eating a balanced diet. Talk to your doctor today or go to the ER if you have any issues.
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If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Dr. Emran and Simple Health Radio do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, consults, or any other information that may be mentioned on this website or radio podcast.
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