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Hyponatremia: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Hyponatremia (say "hy-po-nuh-TREE-mee-uh") means that you don't have enough sodium in your blood. It can cause nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Or you may not feel hungry. In serious cases, it can cause seizures, a coma, or even death.

Hyponatremia is not a disease. It is a problem caused by something else, such as medicines or exercising for a long time in hot weather.

You can get hyponatremia if you lose a lot of fluids and then you drink a lot of water or other liquids that don't have much sodium. You can also get it if you have kidney, liver, heart, or other health problems.

Treatment is focused on getting your sodium levels back to normal.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor recommends it, drink fluids that have sodium. Sports drinks are a good choice. Or you can eat salty foods.
  • If your doctor recommends it, limit the amount of water you drink. And limit fluids that are mostly water. These include tea, coffee, and juice.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems with your medicine.
  • Get your sodium levels tested when your doctor tells you to.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are confused or it is hard to focus.
  • You have little or no appetite.
  • You feel sick to your stomach or you vomit.
  • You have a headache.
  • You have mood changes.
  • You feel more tired than usual.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.