Hyponatremia is also called as fluid overload. This condition typically occurs in warm climates when the individual consumes too much plain water. It is important to note that the advice that is commonly heard of drinking as much water as possible is not beneficial to the health at all.
Nevertheless, the objective of consuming fluid is to replace those that were lost through sweat. The sweat that is released while exercising or engaging in any strenuous activity contains high levels of certain electrolytes, particularly sodium. It is vital that the level of sodium in the body is stable and adequate in order to maintain the proper blood pressure level as well as facilitate with optimum nerve and muscle functioning.
Drinking large amounts of plain water to maintain hydration can be detrimental since sodium is not replaced and its concentration will decrease. Once the level of sodium in the body drops, the water seeps within the cells to balance out the level of sodium, thus the cells start to swell. In most cells, this is not an issue, but the brain cells could not expand since it is prevented by the skull. Most of the symptoms of hyponatremia are instigated by the swelling of the brain cells. In addition, hyponatremia can also develop as a result of severe burns, kidney disease, heart failure, liver cirrhosis and heart failure.
The indicative symptom of hyponatremia that manifest after or during exercise is the swollen or bloated sensation. Other symptoms that can manifest include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Decreased consciousness
If the individual manifests any of these symptoms, it might indicate hyponatremia. With this in mind, a doctor should be consulted for proper assessment of the condition and the appropriate treatment can be started to prevent the condition from worsening.
Treatment of hyponatremia
The individual should be provided with isotonic or hypotonic fluids to drink. You can readily manage this condition if you will register for first aid training today. Those who are suffering from hyponatremia must be treated with the following measures but it usually depends on the severity of the condition:
- Intravenous hypertonic saline
- Salt tablets and foods that contain sodium
- Catheterization in order to monitor the production of urine
What are the complications?
Hyponatremia can be a life-threatening condition if it is not treated promptly. It can lead to brain herniation or even coma over time.
It is important to note that hyponatremia can be avoided. The individual should drink sports drinks or homemade solutions that contain electrolytes when engaging in exercises or any strenuous activity. There are also isotonic beverages that are the best form of rehydrating drinks since they have the same concentration just like blood.