Sodium is needed by your body for it to work properly. Normal sodium levels help in the function of muscles and nerves. It allows the fluid in your body to maintain the right balance. Your kidneys are responsible for controlling the sodium in your body. Too high or too low sodium in your blood can be detrimental to your entire well-being, that is why you need to maintain normal sodium levels in the blood.
What Is Sodium In Blood And How Is It Measured?
Sodium can help in sending a signal between cells, and it can help manage the fluid in your body. Your body needs sodium so that the cells can function properly. Perhaps, that is the reason why most foods contain sodium.
Too little or too much sodium in your blood can be detrimental to your health; that is why you need to measure your sodium levels. A sodium blood test is used to measure the amount of sodium found in your bloodstream. It is used to determine unusual concentrations of sodium, including high sodium and low sodium. This is often used as a part of a basic metabolic panel or electrolyte panel.
What Is The Normal Sodium Level?
The result may vary depending on different laboratories. The normal blood sodium levels range from 135 to 145 mEq/L. If your result shows that you have a blood sodium level of less than 135 mEq/L, then you may be suffering from hyponatremia. If your result shows that you have a blood sodium level of more than 145 mEq/L, then you may have hypernatremia.
Most foods that you eat contain sodium. And the most common form of sodium is sodium chloride that is normally found in table salt. If you sweat or pea, your body loses sodium. That is why you need to check your normal sodium levels.
But then, most people in the US consume more sodium than what their body needs. This can be unhealthy for you. The best thing to do is to choose foods that are low in sodium. Well, in fact, you are recommended to consume less than 2.3 grams of sodium a day, and that is around one teaspoon of table salt. This will help maintain your sodium levels in the normal range.
Some people may be more responsive to the effects of sodium, especially those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney problems, and even elderly. Anyway, the ideal sodium intake should be no more than 1.5 grams a day. But the sad thing is that around 70 percent of the sodium that you eat comes from processed foods. And on average, people consume more than 3.4 grams of sodium a day, and that is way too far from the prescribed dose. To maintain the normal serum sodium level, you need to stick within the prescribed standard.
What Causes Low Sodium In Blood?
People with low sodium levels in the blood can be suffering from hyponatremia. These are usually a problem in the elderly. Here are some causes of low sodium in blood:
- Addison’s disease
- Certain pain medications
- Kidney disease
- Large burns on the skin
- Cirrhosis or liver disease
- Severe diarrhea
- High levels of certain hormones such as vasopressin or antidiuretic hormone
- Heart failure
- Drinking too much water
- Excessive sweating
- Not urinating enough
- Underactive thyroid
- Ketones in the blood
What Causes High Sodium Levels?
High sodium levels are common in infants, adults, and those who are bedridden. High sodium levels are an indication of hypernatremia. Here are some causes of hypernatremia:
- Consuming too much salt
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Drinking salty water
- Excessive sweating
- Not drinking plenty of water
- Low levels of certain hormones
- High aldosterone levels
Sodium imbalances may also be caused by kidney problems and diabetes. It may be due to an injury, serious illness, or surgery. This can also be as a result of certain medications such as diuretics since it lowers the fluid in your body. This can also be due to the medicines you are taking, such as hormone aldosterone. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you to take various sodium tests if you are manifesting signs of sodium imbalances.
A sodium blood test may be recommended by your doctor if you are manifesting symptoms of too little or too much sodium in your blood. You need to maintain normal sodium levels in your blood. If you don’t have a normal sodium level in the blood, then it can indicate a certain condition. A high level of sodium may mean that you have hypernatremia, and this is common in infants and adults, especially those who are bedridden. A low level of sodium may mean that you have hyponatremia, and this is more common in adults.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.