Sodium Levels and why are they Important????

Just reading that if your sodium level is low (whats low)that you can get real sick.........what causes it to get low...and How do you maintain a healthy level......Thank You for the Information

Hugs Jeannie

Report post

7 replies. Join the discussion

Jeannie,

My mother has been suffering with low Sodium and it is very dangerous. She was admitted when her level was 116. I believe normal is in the 130 range. Her lowest level was 102 and the doctors couldn't believe she walked into the clinic. The low sodium disorder has a name but I can't remember, I will ask mom.
I too didn't understand how important sodium was in body function. Low sodium can happen with several non cancer conditions but is seen with SCLC alot.
I hope I helped. Also, If you look at my journals I posted on about low sodium and several responded. It may help.
Bridgette

Report post

Sodium and potassium are two main chemicals that keep the heart functioning properly.

Report post

hey Jeannie,
the name of it is syndrome of inappropriate diuretic hormone (SIADH) - it is pretty common with SCLC - and it causes some major swelling - my dad's onc had him on salt pills (gaggy), then went to a prescription of a bowl of potato chips or chicken noodle soup a day (when is my doctor ever going to prescribe something like that?), and finally a medicine called dodeclomycin - it's a germ fighter that sucks at its job, but has a side effect of raising serum sodium without doing too much else. you really need sodium to keep your body's electrical system tuned up - muscles working, brain working, heart beating, etc. it's one of the reasons you feel so crappy after the stomach flu - sodium tends to drop if you throw up or poop a lot.
hope that helps
hugs
Pat

Report post

I take Epicor. It costs me about 50 cents a pill. It's a fermented yeast product that naturally contains 1020 mg of sodium and 35g of potassium. It's a total immune system product so it has other benefits too. But I'm sure you can find some nutritious stuff out there to supplement.

Report post

Hi Jenny,

Low blood sodium is called hyponatremia. Most labs consider normal sodium levels to be around 135-145 mmol/L in the blood. Monitoring sodium usually starts in about the 120 range and is considered extremely low from about the 110 range down. Because the brain is very sensitive to sodium levels, low sodium causes symptoms including confusion and lethargy. A person may feel nauseated, and experience muscle twitching, which can progress to seizures. Eventually, severe hyponatremia can lead to coma and death.

Some types of cancers produce proteins that cause sodium levels to be low. Sometimes a sodium level will drop when someone has pneumonia or any other type of lung problem, including cancer. Occasionally, cancer in the brain can cause a low sodium. Medications can also decrease sodium levels.

In late 2007, early 2008 I was experiencing some of the symptoms above, lethargy, nausea and muscle twitching along with chem panels showing my sodium level was beginning to fall. My Oncologist ordered a brain MRI and sure enough a very small brain lesion was found.

Mild hyponatremia is treated by reducing your intake of water and monitoring the use of diuretics. When hyponatremia is severe, it is considered a medical emergency that is treated in a hospital. The doctor will slowly increase the blood sodium levels with intravenous (IV) fluids. Additional treatment depends upon the underlying cause of hyponatremia.

Sodium is essential to nerve impulses and contraction of muscles, it also helps to maintain acid-base balance, is required to convert glucose to glycogen. It balances fluids in the tissues and surrounds all of the cells, regulates heart beat and helps to keep other minerals in correct proportion.

So yes it is dangerous to have low levels of sodium in your body. You should seek medical advice if you have reason to believe your levels may be dropping.

Report post

Thank You all for the Information......I learn something new everyday in here.....Luv U Guys

Jeannie

Report post

If you are experiencing low sodium levels, last year on this site it was suggested to drink a sports drink and have a small bowl of chips. This is helping my husband. Doctor didn't want to treat his condition as it's the cancer causing the problem and the cancer is not responding to treatment.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Photo of Dave Grant

The Lung Cancer Survivors Support Community has provided support for patients, caregivers, families and friends since 2006. We welcome over 600 new members every month in the fight against lung cancer.

ALK mutations and lung cancer

Join the discussion about ALK mutations and lung cancer

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Community leaders