What to Expect when Your Senior Loved One has Low Sodium Levels in his Blood
Sodium is an important mineral in the body and an essential component of a lot of body processes. Without sodium, the normal levels of water in the body can’t be maintained and muscle and nerve function would be seriously compromised. But high levels of sodium are a contributing factor in conditions like high blood pressure. We at One Care Companion suggest that seniors need to be extra cautious because they are at risk of sodium-related issues like hyponatremia or low blood sodium and hypernatremia or high blood sodium. Such abnormal sodium states can be harmful and elderly people and their caregivers need to be prudent in terms of dietary sodium intake.
Causes of Low Sodium in Seniors
The levels of sodium and water are regulated together. Sodium is dissolved in the fluid of the body such as the tissue fluid and the blood. This is controlled, together with the levels of water in the body by increasing intake of water and regulating excretion of water through the urine. It is likely that hyponatremia is a consequence of too much body water that dilutes the levels of sodium. However, it can also be caused by too little sodium in the body.
With age, such regulation is impacted. The thirst mechanisms of elderly people may be impaired and so is the response of their kidney to the antidiuretic hormone or ADH that regulates the urine’s water output. Aside from such physical changes with age, this can also be exacerbated by different disorders such as liver failure, severe vomiting and diarrhea, heart failure, liver failure, kidney disease endocrine diseases that impact the adrenal and thyroid glands and urinary tract issues that can hamper the output of urine as well as medications which can cause dehydration like antidepressants, painkillers and diuretics.
Symptoms of Low Sodium Levels
There are no specific signs and symptoms of low sodium levels. Therefore symptoms are not unique to this condition. Indeed a lot of other disorders common in seniors may have symptoms like nausea, restlessness, lethargy and headaches. In severe hyponatremia, an individual can slip into a coma and may experience respiratory arrest.
Treatment of Low Sodium in Seniors
Prolonged hyponatremia in seniors are usually related to medication. The medication must be changed to those that don’t have adverse effects on water and salt levels. However, the medication change must be done carefully under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Also, dietary intake of salt and water may have to be changed accordingly. This must be done in conjunction with a dietitian because excessive salt intake and decreased consumption of water can result in hypernatremia that has its own health consequences.
If you need home care services in Naples South Florida to make sure your elderly loved one maintains enough amount of body sodium, call us now at 2396585266.