Here’s How You Can Increase Your Sodium Levels

If you think too much sodium in your system is bad for you, think again! It turns out that low sodium levels can also be dangerous to your health. Sodium is an electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water in cells. Abnormally low sodium levels are characterized by a medical condition known as hyponatremia. Anything less than 135 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L) indicates low sodium levels. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), UK, define hyponatremia as a condition in which the concentration of sodium in the blood is dangerously low.

Here’s everything you need to know about the condition and what you can do to increase low sodium levels.

Low sodium levels can also be a problem for you. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Symptoms of hyponatremia

A person who has low sodium levels may experience the following signs and symptoms, according to the NIH:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Seizure

Complications of hyponatremia

A slow decline in sodium levels over 48 hours or more can lead to various complications in the brain. Another cause is rapid inflammation of the brain, which can even lead to coma and death if left untreated. Women in their premenopausal years appear to be more susceptible to brain damage from hyponatremia. This could be related to how women’s sex hormones affect the body’s ability to maintain healthy salt levels, according to leading health authorities.

Natural ways to increase sodium levels or prevent hyponatremia

While treatment of the condition depends on its severity, hyponatremia can also be prevented naturally. However, that does not mean that these forms are a replacement for medical treatment. With that being said, let’s look at natural ways to boost sodium levels and keep disease at bay:

1. Eat foods rich in sodium

Since sodium is responsible for controlling body fluids and blood volume and blood pressure, it is vital to keep sodium levels in check. One way to do this is to eat foods high in sodium. Eating cheese, dairy products, shellfish, beets, carrots, and celery are some of the best foods to eat if you want to include more sodium-rich foods in your diet.

2. Increase your salt intake

Salt is a dietary source of sodium that you can include in your diet. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), salt intake should be less than 5 grams per day. However, consuming too much salt can be dangerous for your health, so don’t consume more than necessary. Also, check with your doctor first, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or more.

3. Drink drinks during physical activity

Do you usually sweat a lot while doing a sporting activity? If yes, then you should drink more sports drinks that are healthy and contain electrolytes. Excessive sweating or dehydration can cause hyponatremia, and these drinks contain a mix of nutrients, such as sugar, electrolytes, and water, that can help you cope.

sodium levels
Drinking beverages during your workout can help you maintain your sodium levels. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Drink water in moderation

Water is very important to maintain excess sodium levels in your body. Having enough fluids in your body will help with hyponatremia. However, being too hydrated can also be a problem. The best indicators of how much water you need are usually your thirst and the color of your urine. Light yellow urine is an indication that you are not dehydrated and are consuming enough water.

5. Address the underlying medical condition

Certain underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease or adrenal insufficiency, can cause your sodium levels to drop. Therefore, the best way to control your sodium levels in such cases is to address the underlying medical conditions with the help of a doctor.

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