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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Salt Imbalance
      Category : Health Centers > Cardiovascular (Circulatory System)

Salt Imbalance

Alternate Names : Sodium Imbalance, Electrolyte Imbalance, Hyponatremia, Hypernatremia

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

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:

  • severe vomiting
  • severe diarrhea
  • excessive exercise and sweating
  • burns
  • 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 aldosterone
  • inability to drink water or not drinking enough water
  • excessive intake of salty foods
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • heart disease


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    Salt Imbalance: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/09/02

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