How to interpret Sodium levels in your labs?

What is Sodium?


Sodium is an important electrolyte that your body needs to maintain blood pressure and fluid volume. It also plays a role in nerve and muscle function. Salt is the most common source of sodium, but it is also present in other food sources like milk, celery, sauces such as soy sauce, seasonings, and processed food.


Healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day while those with high blood pressure should limit it to 1,500 mg per day.


Normal Sodium range: (May vary among various labs) 135 – 148 meq/L



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What are the common causes of low sodium?


  • Uncontrolled diabetes, high glucose levels

  • Low thyroid levels

  • Losing too much of fluids due to vomiting, diarrhea

  • Kidney disease

  • Liver disease

  • Heart disease

  • HIV infection

  • Medications like diuretics, antidepressants

  • Certain cancers

  • Hormonal imbalance

  • Pregnancy


What are the common causes of high sodium?


  • Dehydration

  • Losing too much of water through kidneys in urine (Diabetes insipidus)

  • Excessive exercise

  • Seizures

  • Receiving too much of sodium through oral or IV fluids in hospital

  • Brain dysfunction that impairs thirst mechanism thereby decreasing fluid intake


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