Hypernatremia is when there is too much sodium in the body. It may be serious and requires care from your doctor.
This happens when there is an imbalance in the amount of water and sodium in the body—too little water, too much sodium.
The main cause of hypernatremia is having more water leave your body than enter it. This causes dehydration. A person can become dehydrated in different ways, such as:
Risk factors include:
Symptoms may include:
- Being thirsty
- Dry mouth
- muscle weakness or muscle cramps
- decreased urine output
- acute weight loss
- postural dizziness
- restlessness, irritability or agitation
- Serious symptoms:
If left untreated, the condition may lead to death.
Your doctor will:
- Ask about your symptoms
- Ask about your fluid intake and your urine output
- Take your medical history
- Do a physical exam
Tests may include:
- Blood test—to check the sodium levels, other salt levels, and sugar levels in your blood. Kidney function may also be checked with a blood test.
- Urine test—to check for urine sodium levels and sugar levels
To regain a proper balance of fluids in your body, liquid can be given to you either by mouth or through an IV (needle in your vein). The fluid will contain a specific concentration of water, sugar, and sodium. Reintroducing fluids slowly into your body will lower the sodium to a normal level. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
To help reduce your chance of getting hypernatremia, take these steps:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of the correct fluids.
- Work with your doctor to manage any health conditions effectively.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -