How Much Water Should I Drink if I Have Low Blood Sodium?

Close-up of a water drop
Excess fluid intake when you have low serum sodium could have serious consequences. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Low levels of sodium in the blood, medically termed hyponatremia, can cause serious medical problems. The most common electrolyte imbalance seen in the United States, according to PubMedHealth, hyponatremia can be worsened by large amounts of water intake. Normal sodium levels range between 136 to 145 milliequivalents per liter. The amount of fluid you should take in if you have hyponatremia depends on the exact cause of the imbalance. Do not attempt to treat low sodium levels without your doctor's supervision.

Low Sodium and Excess Fluid

If you retain large amounts of fluid because you have congestive heart failure or kidney disease, the extra fluid can dilute the sodium you have in your blood. If you have mild hyponatremia, over 120 milliequivalents per liter of sodium, decreasing your fluids to 500 to 1,500 milliliters of fluid or between 18 and 50 ounces of fluid per day may help, Global RPh reports. Your doctor may also order diuretics to clear out some of the extra fluid.

Water Intoxication

Drinking large amounts of water can disturb also your electrolyte imbalance. If you drink a lot of plain water after an athletic event, when you've sweated and lost large amounts of sodium and other electrolytes, you can develop low sodium levels. You may need intravenous solutions containing normal saline, which is an isotonic solution, a solution with the same sodium composition as blood, containing 9 grams of sodium and chloride per liter of fluid.

Dehydration

If you have fluid loss because you're dehydrated, your sodium levels will drop as your overall fluid volume drops. In this case, you will need additional fluid but you need intravenous fluid containing normal saline, not plain water. You may need a total of 500 to 3,000 ml of normal saline infused at 500 milliliters per hour until your volume level rises to normal levels, Global RPh states.

Considerations

Unless you know the cause of hyponatremia and treat it appropriately, you can cause more harm than good. Drinking more fluids could cause serious harm if you have excess fluid, although it may help if you have low fluid volume. Low sodium volume must be corrected slowly, according to Patient.co.uk. Symptoms of low sodium don't usually appear until your levels fall below 120 milliequivalents per liter. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, confusion,weight gain, high blood pressure and seizures. Symptoms of hyponatremia with low fluid volume include dizziness, weakness, tremors, irritability and seizures.

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