Is Low Sodium Levels Dangerous?
Low sodium levels can have just as many adverse effects on our health as having too much sodium in our blood stream. As a rule of thumb, the optimal levels of sodium will be around 135-145 mEq/L, and numbers that fall below 125 mEq/L are considered too low for optimal needs. There are a number of contributing factors to low sodium levels, and many of them may surprise you. While there is an epidemic of having too much sodium in our diets, not having enough can cause some serious problems as well as some annoying and uncomfortable symptoms. Regulating the levels of sodium in our bodies is important for our overall health, and making sure we have the right balance is just as important as checking our cholesterol and keeping our fat intake down.
Some of the biggest contributors to low sodium levels are exercise, too much water and medication. When we exercise, not only do we lose water to sweat, but we also lose the electrolytes that keep our bodies in optimal condition. This is why it is important to not only stay hydrated, but to make sure that we are eating properly to keep this balance in check. But, having too much water in our bloodstream can dilute these essential minerals therefore limiting their ability to help regulate many processes that our bodies need to function and stay healthy.
Medication is another huge sodium killer, and unfortunately they don’t show up on a lot of side effect lists that come with our prescriptions. Make sure to talk to your physician about your medications and whether or not you should be concerned with losing too much sodium. Another contributor to lowered levels of sodium in our bodies stems from heart and kidney problems. While your doctor will monitor your intake to make sure that your body has the proper amount, if you suffer from these conditions, it is extremely important that you keep your levels in check.
Symptoms of low sodium levels generally do not appear until they are so low that your health is immediately in jeopardy. If you are experiencing confusion, disorientation, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, fatigue and an overall sense of being lethargic and tired, you may have a sodium intake or retention problem. However, these symptoms are also common for a host of other conditions as well, so getting a blood or urine test can help to discover exactly what the causes for your problems actually are. If the tests indicate that you need more sodium, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan that will help to ensure that you are in balance.
Low sodium levels are hard to notice and detect, and you should be aware of the symptoms, especially if you exercise a lot, are on medications and have certain heart or kidney problems. Controlling low sodium levels can be easily managed, however you should be working with a health care professional to make sure you are giving your body and your health the best possible options.