Reasons For Conducting a Blood Sodium Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

As the name suggests, a blood sodium test is done to determine the amount of sodium present in the blood serum. The test is mostly performed to check for excess of sodium in the blood called hypernatremia or deficiency of it which is known as hyponatremia.

If there is a deficiency found in the sodium levels, dehydration could be an important cause. Sodium tests may be required to check for the extent of dehydration in a person’s body. Apart from this, sodium is an important electrolyte and a test of sodium may be ordered along with a test for several other electrolytes to check for a possible electrolyte imbalance.

Reasons Why a Blood Sodium Test is Conducted

For decrease in sodium, kidney disease may be responsible. Increase in the amount of blood sodium is an indicator of a kidney malfunction or disease. Apart from that, changes in the level of blood sodium can also be associated with conditions of the lungs, liver, brain, kidney and heart. The adrenal glands and the hormones produced by them may also be affected due to a change in the blood sodium levels. Therefore to check for adrenal insufficiency, sodium tests are usually ordered. For those, who have had a history of electrolyte imbalance, sodium testing is prescribed at regular intervals. A dangerous risk or a congestive heart failure is also often associated with sodium levels in the blood. Due to an excess of sodium, congestive heart failure can be caused. Sodium is one of the factors behind an increased blood pressure and high blood pressure increases the risk of congestive heart failure. Therefore, sodium levels are checked for those people who have heart troubles.

Urine sodium level testing is often prescribed to find out whether the imbalance of the electrolyte is due to an increased intake or because there is an excessive excretion of sodium.

Symptoms of Hypernatremia

Too much water intake or the retention of it can cause hyponatremia. The fluid begins to accumulate in the body and gives a bloated look and feeling. A decreased level of sodium in the body causes one to feel lethargic, fatigued and weak. If the drop in the sodium levels is very sudden and drastic, one may experience confusion and even slip into a coma. If the decrease in sodium is slow, there may be no symptoms. This is the reason that sodium tests are often prescribed even if the person is not experiencing any symptoms.

Hypernatremia is caused due to dehydration in which the water levels of the body become low and the concentration of sodium increases. The mucus membranes turn dry and there is much restlessness and agitation. Due to diabetes insipidus, sodium levels may fall too