08 July, 2011
Low sodium levels can create hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the sodium levels of the body are diluted. The body maintains a balance of sodium in the blood by matching the amount of sodium you consume with the amount excreted by the kidneys through the urine, according to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine. Mild hyponatremia can be treated by reducing your intake of water and monitoring the diuretic foods in your diet.
Low sodium levels create a condition known as hyponatremia, and can be caused by kidney disorders, in which the kidneys have difficulty eliminating fluids. A dysfunction with the adrenals, hypothalamus and pituitary glands that support the regulation of sodium in the body, can create mild hyponatremia. The abnormal consumption or excretion of dietary sodium or water from you diet is a primary issue when considering the prevention of a low-sodium condition.
Extremely low sodium levels can be very serious because the brain is so sensitive to sodium levels. Low sodium creates a host of symptoms, from confusion and lethargy to nausea. Muscle twitching is also a sign of low sodium levels, and this can lead into seizures; hyponatremia can lead to coma or even death, according to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine.
Different types of foods and drinks can be consumed to support an increase in sodium levels. Consuming electrolyte drinks is an easy way to supplement your body and support building the electrolyte balance of sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate, suggests Medline Plus. Wakame, kelp, Swiss chard, beet greens and oysters are foods that are naturally very rich in sodium, with over 65 milligrams of sodium per serving. Using average table salt is another easy way to support increasing the sodium levels of your body.
Sodium is one vital component in the human diet for the correct regulation of cells and nerves in the human body. Sodium and water balance are very interdependent, as sodium pumps water in the cell and regulates the amount of extra cellular fluid in the body. Common symptoms of hyponatremia are confusion and hallucinations. A lack of proper sodium levels prevents the facilitation of optimal function within the brain, as the brain cells are not adequately hydrated, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Extremely high levels of sodium are as dangerous as low levels of sodium. If you are a healthy adult, your recommended sodium intake should not exceed 2,300 milligrams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. Many foods carry sodium within them naturally, and when table salt is added, it can add a significant dose of sodium to your daily consumption. Be aware of sodium levels in prepackaged foods and canned foods, as these often have extremely high sodium content.
- Sharon Day/Hemera/Getty Images