Sodium levels – the facts
Have you ever wondered if your sodium levels are normal? How high or low should they be?
Sodium levels in our blood are naturally balanced by our bodies. The normal range for sodium level is between 135 and 145 millimoles per litre (mmol/L), however some people have slightly higher sodium levels at around 146 to 148 mmol/L.
Having a low level of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia) is relatively common but a high level (hypernatremia) in the blood is much less so.
Here is a recent question put to the Health at Hand nurses:
I just had a blood test for arthritis and it showed a raised level of sodium. My GP has requested a further blood test but what does this mean?
“If you are generally feeling healthy then it is quite possible that the result was due to an error with the processing of your sample and a further test will show your sodium level to be normal. If you do have hypernatremia (a level of above 146 mmol/L) then you would be experiencing some of the following symptoms and further investigation will be needed.”
Hypernatremia causes and symptoms
The most common causes of hypernatremia (high sodium levels in the blood) are as a result of:
- problems with your kidneys
- dehydration – either from bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting or from the use of diuretics (tablets given for high blood pressure)
- diabetes insipidus – this is a rare condition which affects the way the body processes water
The most common symptoms of hypernatremia may include:
- feeling thirsty
- nausea and vomiting
- feeling confused
- feeling lethargic
- losing consciousness
Hyponatremia causes and symptoms
The most common cause of hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood) is drinking too much water within a short space of time.
Most commonly the symptoms of hyponatremia include:
- nausea and/or vomiting
In rare, serious cases, hyponatremia can cause swelling of the brain which can lead to confusion, seizures, coma and even death.
Ways to treat hypernatremia (high sodium levels in the blood)
The 3 main ways of reducing sodium levels are to:
- stay hydrated
- reduce your salt intake
You could also take a look at our Healthy lifestyle pages for more information.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own - about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example - you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have - whenever you need them, 24 hours a day, every day. Please get in touch now.
Click below to submit your question online.
AXA PPP healthcare
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!