When your sodium levels drop outside the cells, water enters the cells to balance salt concentration. Cells swell because of this excess water.
Most cells can handle it, but brain cells cannot. Thus, brain cell swelling causes most of hyponatremia’s symptoms.
Sodium is an electrolyte and is involved in:
- muscle movement
- regulating fluids in & around cells
- maintaining normal blood pressure
- carrying nerve impulses between cells
Hyponatremia occurs when the blood sodium is diluted by excess water.
Hyponatremia is caused by a health condition that impairs water excretion, excess water consumption or loss of sodium. Some health conditions causing hyponatremia are:
- kidney diseases
- primary polydipsia
- congestive heart failure
- adrenal gland insufficiency ~ Addison’s disease
- syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion
Because sodium is lost via sweat, excess consumption of water during physical activities or in extremely hot temperatures can cause hyponatremia.
Cell swelling symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- loss of appetite
- anorexia nervosa
- nausea & vomiting
- muscle weakness, spasms, cramps
- confusion, disorientation, hallucinations
Treatment for hyponatremia depends on the cause of your swelling symptoms. If a health condition is underlying your low blood sodium, then treating it may cause a correction for symptom relief.
Intravenous sodium solution treatment may be necessary to raise your sodium levels. Or perhaps a temporary cut back on fluids may be enough to treat sodium caused swelling.
Whenever participating in an activity that produces excessive sweat, drinking beverages that contain electrolytes can avert hyponatremia. And don’t overdo that water consumption thing.
And eating salty foods is a very effective treatment and preventive strategy for extreme endurance exercise associated hyponatremia.