Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium) - Symptoms

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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 is only a danger 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:

  • headache,
  • confusion or altered mental state,
  • seizures, and
  • decreased consciousness which can proceed to coma and death.

Other possible symptoms include:

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

Nausea and vomiting may accompany any of the symptoms.

Return to Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium)

See what others are saying

Comment from: jimmye, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 25

I have been extremely lightheaded for over a week. I think it's related to my hyponatremia.

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Comment from: JuJu, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 27

I thought I had dementia as I became more confused and disoriented. My depression was so bad, I thought of suicide. It lasted for weeks before I found out that the cause was hyponatremia. It was my diuretic that was causing my sodium to be so low. I was in the ICU just in time.

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