Low sodium levels are called hyponatremia. A severely low level of sodium can cause a dangerous condition called water intoxication. Hyponatremia can also cause vomiting, nausea, headaches, mental confusion, convulsions, and coma. What causes low sodium?
Several medical conditions can cause a person to have a low sodium level. Acute liver failure, pituitary tumors or pituitary cancer, Addison’s disease, 18-hydroxylase deficiency, neonatal bacterial meningitis, and adrenal cortex disease are some of the conditions that can cause low sodium. Addison’s disease is a rare disease that causes an insufficient production of adrenal corticosteroid hormones. Other adrenal diseases can also interfere with the maintenance of healthy sodium levels.
Diseases of the liver and kidneys can be low sodium causes. The use of diuretics and diarrhea can be causes of low blood sodium levels. SIADH is a disorder that causes excessive antidiuretic hormones to be released which can lead to low blood sodium levels.
Low sodium levels can be caused by malignant Boutonneuse fever. Malignant Boutonneuse fever is a complication of Boutonneuse fever, also called Mediterranian spotted fever, that typically affects the elderly or people with heart disease or other medical problems who contract the infection. Boutonneuse fever is spread by tick bites from infected ticks.
An overdose of the herbal remedy Ajuga Nipponensis Makino can cause low sodium. This herbal remedy is used for coughs, inflammation, and to support liver functioning. It is sometimes used as a diuretic. Too much of this herbal remedy can cause low sodium levels.
Some conditions cause a person to drink excessive amounts of water which can lead to low sodium and water intoxication. This is sometimes referred to as self-induced water intoxication. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is characterized by hallucinations or delusions, but often also causes the person to drink large quantities of water. Anorexia often leads to electrolyte imbalances due to the intake of water and lack of food intake. Low sodium is one of the imbalances that anorexia can cause.
Drug abuse of ecstasy can cause low sodium levels. Hyperglycemia and hypothyroidism can lead to sodium levels that are lower than normal. Low sodium levels can also be caused by cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease.
People are often admitted to the hospital for intravenous (IV) treatment of the low sodium level. Other medication may be administered as well. The cause of the low sodium level may be treated if the condition has been identified and is treatable.