Dehydration and Sodium Levels

Water and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, are monitored and controlled by the body.

Dehydration results from a deficit of water in the body. Water is one of the most important compounds in the body, necessary for the processes of energy generation and removal of waste products.

When the body lacks enough water, dehydration ensues. This can then lead to metabolic abnormalities, including affected sodium levels.

Causes

Dehydration results from either increased fluid losses or decreased intake.

According to the Merck Manual, vomiting, diarrhea and profuse sweating are some of the most common causes of dehydration.

Other causes include excessive intake of diuretics, which are medicines that increase the excretion of fluid in the urine; burns; and conditions that increase the production of urine, like diabetes mellitus.

The Merck Manual also mentions that the elderly and infants and young children are at particularly high risk of becoming dehydrated.

High Sodium and Dehydration

Hypernatremia, or high blood sodium, results from the body not having enough water. In other words, dehydration causes an increase in the level of sodium in the blood stream.

A thirsty feeling is the usual symptom of hypernatremia.

Seek medical attention because according to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, hypernatremia can also affect your brain cells, resulting in confusion and fatigue, and eventually can result in coma and death.

Low Sodium and Dehydration

The treatment of dehydration includes the administration of fluids, either orally or intravenously.

Care must be taken to correct the levels of sodium slowly, as rapid correction can cause sudden fluid shifts that can affect the brain, either by causing brain swelling or by breaking down myelin, the protective cover of the brain's cells. Either can cause permanent brain damage.

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