How is hyponatremia treated?

Treatment for hyponatremia depends on the underlying cause and the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms, your doctor makes small adjustments to your therapy to correct the problem. This usually involves restricting water intake, adjusting medications and removing or treating the causes. Therapy may be short-term or long-term. For the short-term, we may restrict water intake, adjust or stop medications, and treat any underlying problems. For the long-term, we may continue the short-term treatments and add salt to your diet or try some newer medications.

People with moderate to severe hyponatremia require thorough medical evaluation and treatment, usually in the hospital. For the sickest patients, we may replace sodium intravenously (straight into a vein) and really limit water consumption. Certain newer medications, like tolvaptan (Samsca®), may be used to correct blood sodium levels.

Treatment to correct any underlying medical problems – like congestive heart failure (when poor heart function causes fluid to build up in the body) – is also used to improve hyponatremia.

What complications are associated with hyponatremia?

In many cases, hyponatremia causes extra water to move out of the bloodstream and into body cells, including brain cells. Severe hyponatremia causes this to occur quickly, resulting in swollen brain tissue. If left untreated, complications can include:

  • Mental status changes
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

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