Facts You Should Know About Sodium Deficiency
A sodium deficiency can have serious affects on your health, since sodium is an important nutrient, in moderation. Sodium stimulates muscle contraction, and it works with potassium, and helps to keep calcium and other minerals soluble in the blood. Sodium is also an important element in keeping you from suffering heat prostration or sunstroke.
Sodium holds water in your body's tissues, and helps to maintain the proper balance of positive and negative ions in your body's fluids and tissues. This helps your central nervous system to function more effectively, when the positive and negative ions are in balance.
Sodium deficiency results from a lack of sodium intake into your body. The sodium deficiency that you see most often is caused when excessive perspiration causes a reduction in body water and sodium, and dehydration is the resulting problem.
Symptoms of dehydration may include feelings of weakness and nausea, and possibly cramps in the muscles in your extremities. You can take extra salt in tablet form to help keep dehydration from occurring.
If you don't get enough sodium in your daily diet, it may disturb the tissue-water and acid-base balance that is vitally important to maintaining a good nutritional status. Conversely, too much sodium in your diet can result in water-retention and also, in some cases, hypertension.
Hyponatremia, also called “water intoxication”, is a disease of sodium deficiency in which the sodium concentration in your plasma is too low. It is sometimes caused by other illnesses in which sodium in bodily fluids is lost (perhaps due to diarrhea or vomiting), or when excess water accumulates more rapidly than normal in your body.
The concentration of sodium in the blood under normal circumstances is 136-145 mM. If the sodium level reaches a level at or below 130 mM, hyponatremia can result. Plasma sodium levels that fall below 125 mM can result in seizures or coma.
Sodium deficiency can be caused by months of maintaining a diet that does not include enough salt, or by excessive sweating, such as might occur during strenuous exercise. If you are taking diuretics and still maintaining a low sodium diet, it may push your body into a condition of sodium deficiency. Drinking excess water can also cause a sodium deficiency in your body, if the absorption of water into the bloodstream dilutes the amount of sodium there.
Hyponatremia can also result from disorders in certain of your body's organs, mainly the organs responsible for maintaining sodium or water regulation. Addison's disease can also cause sodium deficiency or “water intoxication” because of damage to the adrenal gland.
Severe sodium deficiency can be treated by giving sodium chloride in water, to make it into the bloodstream.
Whatever the cause, sodium deficiency can be as serious as ingesting too much sodium in your diet. It's vital to maintain the proper balance of sodium and other minerals in your body.