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Sodium levels – Normal, Low, High

Normal sodium levels are needed for maintaining good health. The normal level of sodium of every person significantly differs and depends upon the age, sex and health condition of the individual. Sodium levels that are far from the normal range can be fatal, so knowing the level of sodium in the body is extremely important.

Maintaining normal sodium levels requires visiting a physician or nutritional health professional. This is because each person has a different normal range of sodium levels and doctors are well-equipped to know the ideal sodium level for every person based on tests and personal assessment.

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What is sodium?

Sodium is among the electrolytes inside the body that plays a vital role in regulating the fluids and maintaining the acidity. Since it is an electrolyte, sodium has an electrical charge which is important in maintaining the metabolism and cell activity. Around 40% of sodium is found in the bones while 55% is found in the blood plasma and fluids outside the cells, while the rest are found in cells and organs. Sodium plays a huge part in the proper conduction of the nerves from various nutrients going to the cells, as well as in keeping the blood pressure under control. To fulfill its function properly, normal sodium levels is extremely important.

How important is it to maintain normal sodium levels?

Normal sodium levels indicate that the body is metabolizing properly, with the cells nourished adequately and nervous system is in check. Maintaining sodium levels at normal range is important in having good mood, mental clearness and general sense of happiness. Having normal levels of sodium is also important in maintaining water balance in the body and help in preventing dehydration and fluid build-up. These electrolytes facilitate in sending out electric signals to the nerves and vice versa. Normal sodium levels play a vital role in the uptake of nutrients into the cells.

What is the normal range of sodium level?

The normal sodium levels are as follows:

  • in blood – within 135 to 145 millequivalents/L
  • in urine – between 15 and 250 milliequivalents/L/day
  • in food – should not exceed 2,300 milligrams/day for a healthy adult and 1,500 milligrams/day for people with medical problems like high blood pressure, renal problem and diabetes.

It is best to consult the doctor to determine the exact sodium level acceptable for each individual because normal sodium levels depends upon each individuals health condition, age, sex and other factors.

Effects of sodium levels low or high

There are several health risks if a person either has high or low sodium levels, which may range from simple headaches to death. High sodium levels can give rise to high blood pressure, liver and kidney problems. On the other hand, low sodium levels may also lead to heart disease, slow metabolism, kidney disease and fatigue. What makes it more difficult is that people with abnormal sodium levels will not know their condition because the symptoms only become obvious when the condition is already serious.

High sodium levels symptoms

  • Thirst

This is the initial sign that the sodium level is elevated as the body tries to bring back the balance of fluids and sodium inside the body.

  • Brain Dysfunction

This is often characterized by confusion which is the result of the shrinking brain cells. Immediate medical attention is needed when confusion follows the deep feeling of thirst and could be associated with restlessness, foolish behaviors, irritability and agitation.

  • Fainting and Dizziness

As sodium levels increase, blood pressure may also fluctuate and may give rise to symptoms like dizziness and fainting.

  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms

This is characterized by vomiting, nausea, fever and excessive sweating, including dry mouth due to dehydration.

Low sodium levels signs :

  • Vomiting and nausea

These symptoms may arise due to low levels of sodium along with loss of appetite.

  • Hyponatremia

This condition occurs as a result of low sodium level in blood and is diagnosed through blood test.

  • Reduced consciousness and confusion

Severe drop in the sodium level may result to the manifestations of psycho-neurological symptoms like hallucinations, mental disorientation, confusion, agitation, reduced consciousness, sluggishness, seizures and even coma.

  • Muscle dysfunction

Normal sodium levels are essential for the proper functioning of the muscles. A drop of sodium levels in the blood impairs the transmission of signals from the nerves to the muscles, resulting to cramping and twitching of muscles.

Maintaining normal sodium levels involves eating a balanced and healthy diet. Processed foods must be avoided because they contain high amounts of sodium. This also proves true in “so-called” healthy foods that contain low amounts of carbohydrates and fat but has high amounts of sodium. It is truly helpful if you make it a habit to read the labels when shopping for food items and preparing your own food to ensure that you keep your normal sodium levels at all times.

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