Hypernatremia – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prognosis

Hypernatremia is condition that can lead to irritating symptoms. If this condition is not treated in time, it can lead to death.

What is Hypernatremia?

It is a condition that is caused by the high level of Serum Sodium found in the body. Normal concentration of Sodium in the Blood Plasma is 136-145mM. It is commonly found in United States.


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Names of Hypernatremia

Hypernatremia is also known as

  • Euvolemic Hyponatremia
  • Dilutional Hyponatremia
  • Hypovolemi Hyponatremia
  • Hypervolemic Hyponatremia

Hypernatremia Pathophysiology

This condition is identified by the Water shortage state, in which shortage of Water is more than the shortage of Sodium in the body. There is either higher loss of Water or high retention of Sodium.

Types of Hypernatremia

  1. Neonatal Hypernatremia
  2. Chronic Hypernatremia
  3. Adipsic Hypernatremia
  1. Neonatal Hypernatremia

    This condition occurs due to Neonates. Neonates are the babies of 4 weeks. It is caused by an insufficient feeding of Breast Milk. It is a dangerous situation for young children. Mortality and Morbidity in Breastfed babies can be prevented by the regular checkups by doctor and other health professionals. For the prevention of this condition the weight of babies should also be regularly monitored.

  2. Chronic Hypernatremia

    This condition is common among children; it occurs due to the changes in the procedure that controls the balance of fluids in the body. It can also cause problems including:

  3. Adipsic Hypernatremia

    • Extreme loss of Water
    • Insufficient fluid intake

It is an uncommon disease that is caused from a combination of Adipsic and Diabetes.

Causes of Hypernatremia

Following are some causes of Hypernatremia

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Burn
  • Heart Failure
  • Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion
  • Diuretic medicines (it can increase the excretion of Urine)
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Kidney diseases

Sodium is found in the fluids of body, it helps in maintaining the Blood Pressure. It is also required for the appropriate functioning of Muscles and Nerves in human body.

Sometimes, the amount of Sodium is decreased in the fluids find outside the cells, in this case, the Water moves to the cells to keep up a level balanced in human body. Higher amount of Water can cause inflammation in the cells. Most of cells can regulate this inflammation but the cells in Brain cannot manage this inflammation as they are found in the bones of Skull.

Most of the signs of Hypernatremia are caused due to inflammation in Brain.

Symptoms of Hypernatremia

Following are the symptoms of Hypernatremia

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Headache
  • Cramps
  • Pain in muscles
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Restlessness

People suffering from this disease also suffer from some problematic conditions including

  • Loss of mental abilities
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

The imbalance of Salt and Water in the human body is mostly caused due to the following 3 factors like:

  1. Euvolemic Hyponatremia

    In this condition, the amount of Water increases in the body while the amount of Sodium does not change.

  2. Hypervolemic Hyponatremia

    In this condition, the amount of Water and Sodium both raise in the body. The increase in Water is more as compare to Sodium.

  3. Hypovolemic Hyponatremia

    The amount of Water and Sodium both are lost from the body during this condition.

Diagnosis of Hyponatremia

Doctor physically examines a patient for the diagnosis of this disease. Doctor also determines the causes and symptoms of this disorder.

Patients are required to take Blood and Urine tests for further diagnosis. Following tests are taken by the laboratory to confirm the disease including:

  • Urine Sodium Test
  • Urine Osmolality Test
  • Osmolality Blood Test
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

Treatment of Hypernatremia

It is essential to diagnose this disorder because sometimes, this condition can be caused by the Cancerous situations.

The imbalance of Sodium can be treated with the help of methods like

  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery etc

The treatment of Hyponatremia consists of monitoring fluids flowing through Veins, monitoring and limiting the intake of fluids including Water and intake of medications for the relief of symptoms.

Complications of Hypernatremia

Patients experience the symptoms of this condition, when the level of Sodium in body increases than158 meilliEquivalents/Liter. When the level of Sodium increases in the body, patients may suffer from symptoms like

  • Occasional Chorea
  • General Twitching
  • Jerky movements of shoulders, hips and face

Patients also suffer from condition known as Hyperreflexia. It is identified by the over activity of reflexes. At this stage, Seizures may also occur. At the later stage of Hypernatremia, the patient may go into Coma. This situation may get worst, if the level of Sodium in Blood becomes more than 180 Meg per Liter. It is very rare that the level of Sodium reaches to this extent.

In some cases, this condition can also cause disease like Hernia of Brain, Coma and even Death.

Improvement of Hypernatremia

Proper intake of Water is good for the cure of Hypernatremia. It will correct the shortage of Water in the body, which is caused by this disease. Substitution of Water can be done by Intravenous or Oral way.

Intravenous management of Water is not sufficient to cure this disease due to issue of Osmolarity. It can also be done with the Saline or Dextrose solutions.

Rapid treatment of Hypernatremia can be sometimes dangerous too. Brain can adapt to the higher level of Sodium, once the Brain adapts to higher level of Sodium then decrease in the Sodium concentration decreases, Water flows to the cells of Brain and can cause Inflammation in Brian’s cells. It can result in:

  • Potential Seizures
  • Cerebral Edema
  • Damage to Brain
  • Death

Hypernatremia should be properly cured by Health Professionals or Physician expert in curing imbalance of Electrolyte.

Hypernatremia and Diabetes

This condition may occur when individuals suffering from Diabetes also suffer from extreme emission of Water from Kidneys. This type of patients may consume Water and mostly don’t suffer from extreme thirst, they can manage the symptoms of this disorder and due to this succession of the disease is prevented. This condition may result in the improper functioning of Brain in the patients.

Management of Hypernatremia

The management of Hypernatremia can be done as follows

  • Management of Diuretics
  • Discontinuation of Hypertonic Sodium management

If you are involved in any sports, try to drink fluids containing Electrolytes. Sports drinks are have high amount of Electrolytes in it and are good to drink. Intake of only Water while playing sports that may require high energy can lead to the Acute Hyponatremia.

Management of Hypernatremia

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Prognosis of Hypernatremia

The prognosis of this condition depends on the hidden causes for it. Acute Hypernatremia is more serious than normal Hypernatremia. If the treatment is not taken in time, this disease can lead to death even.

Most of the time, Normal and the Chronic Hypernatremia are not life threatening because the Brain gets adjust to the inflammation.

If you too are suffering from this disease, urgently consult a doctor, who may help you for treatment of this disease like reduction of discomforting symptoms and other complications associated with Hypernatremia.

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