Sodium deficiency symptoms

Sodium is an electrolyte that helps the body to maintain the balance of fluid. Most of the sodium in your body is in your bones and the extracellular fluids. Cells pump out sodium and pump potassium. Without this process the water levels in cells would accumulate and cause the cells to swell and possibly burst. This process also allows the body to maintain each cell’s electrical charge which is necessary for proper function of the nerve and muscle cells. When you contract your muscles, sodium enters the cells while potassium is released. This reverses the electrical charge and allows your muscles to contract.

Maintaining a moderate level of sodium intake is important to help the body to resist illnesses such as heat stroke and heat cramps. This is particularly important if you are rigorously exercising or at other times when your body loses fluids through sweating. A deficiency of sodium in the body can cause health problems so it is important that you get the daily required amount of sodium particularly if you are active.

Sodium deficiency symptoms often include a number of signs such as weight loss, intestinal gas, poor memory, low blood sugar, short attention span, heart palpitations, vomiting and weakness in the muscles. A prolonged deficiency to sodium levels can cause more severe symptoms such as neuralgia, rheumatism and arthritis.

It is important to understand that sodium deficiency is a very rare disorder mostly due to the fact that many foods contain at least trace amounts of sodium. In order to develop a sodium deficiency you would have to virtually starve yourself of sodium or lose all of your nutrients. This is typically done by excessive diarrhea or vomiting that results in an excessive loss of body fluids. If you are attempting to replace the sodium lost during times of illness or when you lose excessive amounts of bodily fluids it is important to also replace the fluids that you have lost. Without liquids sodium will not be absorbed into the body.

It is recommended to get between 1000 and 3000 milligrams of sodium each day. Since most people eat an average of 4000 to 5000 milligrams each day in foods, you are likely getting enough sodium in your normal daily diet. Keep in mind that if you eat table salt, it contains around 1000 milligrams in each one-half teaspoon so if you are concerned about your sodium levels being too high, cutting down on your table salt can help to control the problem.

Sodium excess is a much more common ailment than sodium deficiency, mostly because of the amount of sodium in most foods and partly due to the fact that processed foods contain a higher amount of added sodium. If you have high blood pressure, too much sodium can cause additional health problems. Excess sodium can lead to liver, kidney and heart problems and cause dizziness and edema. In order for the body to function properly, sodium and potassium ratios must be in a good balance.

If you are showing signs of a sodium deficiency, it is important to get in touch with your doctor. He or she will know what steps need to be taken in order to increase the levels of sodium in your body while also balancing out the potassium levels. Keeping the two nutrients in balance will help you to feel much healthier and help to ward off certain illnesses and diseases. While the symptoms of sodium deficiency typically feel like normal flu virus symptoms, if you notice heart palpitations or other symptoms in conjunction with vomiting or extreme weight loss it is recommended that you visit your doctor for a blood test to determine your sodium levels.

Last updated on Dec 15th, 2010 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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