Alternate Names : Sodium Imbalance, Electrolyte Imbalance, Hyponatremia, Hypernatremia
An imbalance occurs when there is too little
or too much sodium, also known as salt, in the bloodstream. The condition is called
hyponatremia when there is too little sodium. It is called hypernatremia
when there is too much sodium in the bloodstream.
What is going on in the body?
The kidneys absorb most of the sodium in the body.
Sodium helps the kidneys to regulate water levels in the body.
Normally, the sodium-water balance in the body is regulated by the
hormone aldosterone. This hormone causes the kidneys to hold onto
water. When this system is out of balance, the body either gets rid
of or absorbs too much sodium.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Too little sodium in the blood may be caused by:
excessive exercise and sweating
diuretics, which are medications that eliminate excess water from the body
poor kidney function, such as chronic renal failure
infections or high fever
Addison's disease, a condition in which there is not enough of the hormone cortisol in the bloodstream
excessive water or fluid intake
congestive heart failure
Too much sodium in the blood may be caused by:
corticosteroid medicines, such as prednisone
aldosteronism, a condition in which the body makes too much
inability to drink water or not drinking enough water
excessive intake of salty foods