Q:

Why is low blood sodium a concern for older adults, and what is the treatment?

A:

Quick Answer

Low blood sodium, or hyponatremia, is a concern for the elderly because they are more likely to have conditions or take medicines that increase their risk factors. Common treatments include changing a particular medicine, altering hydration and salt intake levels, and treating the related disease, notes Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Low blood sodium occurs when there is too much water in the bloodstream or there is an inordinately low level of sodium in the blood. While most elderly people are at risk, those who are in the hospital or who live in residential care facilities have a higher risk, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

Diuretics influence levels of sodium as they make the patient urinate more frequently, pulling sodium out of the system. Those who take the antiseizure medication carbamazepine are at risk of hyponatremia, as are those who take certain kinds of antidepressants. People with decreased heart, liver, kidney, adrenal gland or thyroid function are at risk of low blood sodium. People suffering from lung cancer as well as certain other types of cancer also can develop hyponatremia, according to Mayo Clinic. When a doctor adjusts a patient's sodium and hydration levels, he is likely to boost the amount of salt intake and/or caution the patient to consume less water.

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