Causes of low sodium: Firefighter taking off oxygen mask

Salt often gets a poor reputation when it comes to health. Unfortunately, many of these discussions are misguided, painting sodium itself as a bad actor in health — not imbalances in sodium, which are the real culprit. The reality is that our bodies need a precise amount of sodium and glucose to function properly. Here, we’ll discuss the causes of low sodium and how it can lead to dehydration.

You’ll discover the main causes of low sodium, including how medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and illness contribute to the problem. Plus, we’ll show you how you can avoid dehydration caused by low blood sodium levels by using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It enables you to treat mild to moderate dehydration at home, helping you avoid a more serious condition resulting in an unwanted hospital visit for IV therapy.

The Link Between Sodium and Hydration

Causes of low sodium: Glass of water and rock salt on the table

Low sodium levels can be just as damaging to your health as excess amounts of sodium. That’s because sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps your body carry out daily activities. Without enough of this electrolyte, you may develop symptoms of a condition known as hyponatremia.

Sodium is a vital electrolyte that our bodies need to carry out essential functions and stay hydrated. Sodium triggers your thirst mechanism, helping your body recognize when it needs to replenish lost fluid and electrolytes. Sodium also works with glucose to maintain water retention, and it makes it easier for your body to absorb electrolytes.

Here’s how that process — known as the sodium-glucose cotransport system — works. Glucose in your intestines reduces osmolality — the amount of pressure required for substances to move in and out of cell membranes. Essentially, glucose makes it easier for fluids and electrolytes like sodium to enter cell membranes. Once inside cells, sodium further increases the absorption of essential electrolytes, helping to restore proper hydration levels quickly.

Without a precise balance, you may experience low sodium levels that can cause hyponatremia and dehydration. Hyponatremia can occur both as an acute or a chronic disorder. Acute hyponatremia typically presents more serious and life-threatening symptoms such as coma while chronic hyponatremia involves headaches, muscle cramping, and irritability.

While low sodium levels can pose uncomfortable symptoms, it’s an easy condition to manage. Read on to learn more about the causes of low sodium. Plus find lifestyle tips including how drinking an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can help in the treatment of dehydration caused by hyponatremia.

What Are Normal Sodium Levels?

Causes of low sodium: Worker harvesting salt in salt field

Normal sodium levels are between 135 and 145 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Readings outside the normal range and below 135 mEq/L indicate hyponatremia, while readings above 145 point to hypernatremia

Hyponatremia is a condition that can be both acute or chronic and in some cases may be life-threatening. Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, headache, low blood pressure, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and dizziness. Severe hyponatremia cases may also result in coma, seizures, severe vomiting, brain damage, and confusion. 

To find your sodium levels, visit your healthcare professional for a blood test or general metabolic panel. The doctor may also perform a basic physical examination and urine test, and ask about your medical history to understand any underlying causes of low sodium levels.

The Main Causes of Low Sodium

Causes of low sodium: Tired factory worker

Low sodium levels can occur for a variety of reasons. You may not be staying properly hydrated or you may suffer from an underlying condition that makes it difficult for your body to regulate adequate sodium levels

Read on to learn more about the main causes of low sodium levels and how an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS can manage dehydration caused by sodium imbalances.

Medical Conditions

Health conditions including kidney disease, kidney failure, adrenal gland disorders, Addison’s disease, and liver disease have been linked to low sodium levels. In addition, an underactive thyroid, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and hormone disorders can heighten the risk of hyponatremia

That’s because your kidneys and liver play a key role in maintaining hydration and eliminating wastes. When they can’t do their jobs properly, the risk of hyponatremia increases dramatically. In addition, changes in blood fluid volume and sodium concentration can also affect blood pressure and worsen certain heart conditions.

Diabetes may also cause sodium levels to drop lower than normal. One of the main symptoms of diabetes is called polydipsia — excessive thirst. Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. In response, your kidneys increase urine output to get rid of the excess glucose. This tricks your brain into thinking you need to drink more fluid, which results in feelings of excessive thirst. This also increases the risk of dehydration and sodium imbalances that can make dehydration worse.

Hormone conditions such as syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) are among the main causes of low sodium levels. People who suffer from SIADH produce excess amounts of the antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

This hormone plays a key role in water retention, but too much of it causes your body to store excess amounts of water. This dilutes the normal sodium content in fluids surrounding your cells. The low level of sodium can produce hyponatremia symptoms such as headache and muscle pain.

Certain Medications

Some medications increase the risk of low sodium levels. These include things like thiazide diuretics, laxatives, water pills, antidepressants, and some pain medications. These medications may impact the production of hormones such as vasopressin that are responsible for water retention. Others increase urination or affect fluid intake, making it harder to maintain a proper balance of sodium and body fluids.

Exercise

Exercise or physical activity that causes excessive sweating can increase the likelihood of hyponatremia. That’s because you lose water and electrolytes including sodium through sweat — your body’s natural mechanism to maintain body temperature. When you sweat, sodium and fluids are pushed to the surface of your skin where it evaporates to create a cooling effect. When you sweat too much or don’t replace lost fluids quickly enough, your sodium levels can drop, and dehydration sets in.

Illness

Illnesses such as viral and bacterial infections can cause low sodium levels, especially if symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting are present. When you throw up or have loose stools, you naturally lose fluid and electrolytes that your body needs to maintain proper hydration. If you can’t keep fluids down or don’t replenish lost fluids quickly using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS, you may experience dehydration caused by low sodium levels.

Poor Hydration

Poor hydration can also lead to low levels of sodium and dehydration. Many of us don’t drink enough fluids throughout the day, especially when we’re working hard. Additionally, not drinking enough fluids first thing in the morning can lead to dehydration. That’s because we naturally lose fluids and electrolytes when we sleep resulting in waking up thirsty.

This is especially true for people who suffer from sleep apnea or those who sleep in hot environments. Starting the day off dehydrated makes it even likelier that dehydration and hyponatremia will set in.

Many people think hydration is all about drinking water, but that’s not the whole picture. You need a precise amount of electrolytes as well as fluids to maintain proper hydration levels. That’s why you can’t just drink a glass of water when you feel dehydrated. Instead, you need to reach for an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. It contains a precise ratio of electrolytes including sodium to deliver dehydration relief fast.

Risk Factors of Hyponatremia

Older adults are at a higher risk of developing dehydration and low sodium levels. That’s because many seniors take medications or have medical conditions that can increase the risk of these disorders. In addition, as we age, our bodies become less efficient at maintaining proper hydration levels, so it’s easier than ever to become dehydrated.

Young children are also at higher risk of suffering from low sodium levels and hyponatremia dehydration. Infants and kids are still developing, meaning even small changes in hydration and sodium levels can cause health problems. 

People who work outdoors in high temperatures — contractors, oil rig workers, and firemen, for example — are more likely to develop low sodium levels and dehydration. That’s because they sweat more in order to stay cool.

Tips To Improve Hydration 

Fisher man adding DripDrop ORS to his tumbler

When it comes to hydration, you need the right amount of sodium, glucose, and fluids. If you don’t get enough sodium, you may suffer from hyponatremia and dehydration. Fortunately, dehydration caused by low sodium levels is easy to manage using an oral rehydration solution like DripDrop ORS. DripDrop ORS contains a precise amount of electrolytes such as sodium to help relieve dehydration fast.

What makes DripDrop ORS the best choice? It’s effective, affordable, and convenient to use. The convenient packaging means you’ll have an effective dehydration tool on hand wherever you go. Just toss a few packets into your bag, keep some in your glove box, or slide a few in your pocket so you can stay hydrated on-the-go. 

DripDrop ORS is a proven alternative to IV therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate dehydration, which means it may also keep you out of the hospital, helping to save money on expensive IV treatments when dehydration takes hold. 

DripDrop ORS was developed by a doctor on a mission to defeat life-threatening dehydration. The patented formula provides medically relevant electrolyte levels, improving on the World Health Organization’s Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) standards because of its delicious taste, giving you a medically viable ORS that also tastes great. By comparison, sports drinks contain about one-third the electrolytes of DripDrop ORS and twice as much sugar.

Try adding a water bottle and DripDrop powder sticks to your work bag, exercise tote, or your computer bag so you always have the best hydration tool on hand. Try to sip on the electrolyte drink throughout the day to ensure your body has what it needs to stay hydrated. 

Avoid Dehydration Caused by Low Sodium With DripDrop ORS

Man adding DripDrop ORS to his water tumbler

Now that you know the causes of low sodium and how it can lead to dehydration, you can create a protocol to stay healthy all year long. DripDrop ORS is a proven alternative for treating mild to moderate dehydration. It's powerful enough to use in extreme circumstances but safe enough for everyday use. 

When you're in a state of dehydration, no amount of water alone is enough. Your body needs the perfect balance of sodium and glucose to help absorption. With the precisely balanced ratio, you can replenish vital electrolytes and fluids to relieve dehydration quickly. Plus DripDrop ORS supplies vitamins like zinc, potassium, and magnesium,  which are essential to support your overall health.

For cases of mild to moderate dehydration, DripDrop ORS is a fast, effective, and great tasting remedy. Its convenient packaging allows you to have DripDrop ORS when you need it, where you need it. Get started with a trial or our most popular multi-flavor pouch for dehydration relief fast. Or, get 15% off your first purchase with code FIRST15.