Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Take the Blood Disorders Quiz

What are the symptoms of hyponatremia (low blood sodium)?

When sodium levels in the body are low, water tends to enter cells, causing them to swell. When this occurs in the brain, it is referred to as cerebral edema. Cerebral edema is particularly dangerous because the brain is confined in the skull without room for expansion, and the swelling can lead to brain damage as the pressure increases within the skull. Cerebral edema occurs only in severe cases of hyponatremia.

In chronic hyponatremia, in which the blood sodium levels drop gradually over time, symptoms are typically less severe than with acute hyponatremia (a sudden drop in blood sodium level). Symptoms can be very nonspecific and can include:

Other possible symptoms include:

  • restlessness,
  • muscle spasms or cramps,
  • weakness, and tiredness.

Nausea and vomiting may accompany any of the symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/3/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Hyponatremia - Experience

    Please describe your experience with Hyponatremia.

    Post View 54 Comments
  • Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium) - Symptoms

    What are the symptoms associated with your hyponatremia?

    Post View 6 Comments
  • Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium) - Diagnosis

    What tests or exams led to a diagnosis of low blood sodium?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium) - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment have you received for your low blood sodium?

    Post View 6 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors