Back to treatments:
I hope you found the statistics in the previous post as unbelievable as I did. I really need to explore the website in depth to figure out what it all means. The information on its own is mind blowing, but the information isn’t entirely clear.
For instance, is the data for all people who are hospitalized for hyponatremia, as well as those who develop it while in the hospital for other issues. If you’ve read my previous posts, you understand that there is a high incidence for people to develop hyponatremia if they are hospitalized for longer than a day. It is also extremely common for patients who are hospitalized for burns, complications of chemotherapy, recovering from brain surgery, etc. The statistics I found did not acknowledge how comprehensive it is. If I am correct and it only includes people being hospitalized for hyponatremia on arrival, then there could be as many as 3 million people per year that develop it.
The statistics that I have at this time are only for US hospitals, and if I am correct, then close to 10% of the US populations develops hyponatremia each year. WOW!
So, I believe this makes it even more important to spread the word regarding hyponatremia and how to treat it.
That leads me back to this post.
The treatment plans that I explained in the previous post is fundamental for everyone who develops hyponatremia, but I will go into more detail about why and how specific types of disorders lead to hyponatremia.
Athletes have a high incidence of developing hyponatremia, especially those who experience long lasting, strenuous activities, like marathon runners, dancers, tri-athletes. Now, this really hits home for me. My son (15) has been playing football since he was in first grade. Every year, he goes out on the field in the unbearable summer heat and runs at least a mile per practice. The first 2 weeks is called conditioning, and they spend most of their time running.
I have always “pushed” him to drink water both before and after his practices. When the summer reaches its hottest days, my son is wearing about 5lbs in pads and running for several hours. He is always drenched in sweat.
Sweat is comprised of a considerable amount of sodium. In your bodies, effort to lower its core temperature, it produces a significant amount of sweat. After significant sweating, its not uncommon for a person to develop a thin layer of salt over their body. It’s the reason why sweat stings your eyes and why it tastes so salty.
Now, here is the danger. I’ve always pushed water and lots of it. During the hottest days of summer, the football players stop every fifteen minutes for water breaks. These players are already releasing a large amount of sodium through their sweat, and when they consume large sums of water in addition, it further dilutes the sodium in their blood!
They symptoms for hyponatremia are the same for heat stroke: nausea, vomiting, headache, passing out, cramps, fatigue, etc. Most hospitals will assume that a person has heat stroke if they have been participating in sports. They will start treatment with IV fluids, and this could kill the person rapidly. It wouldn’t be until the ER gets the patient’s electrolyte panel back before they realize the error; by that time, the IV fluids have already depleted the blood sodium levels further. This has a disasterous impact. Ultimately, it could cause death.
In one study I found, the paper urged that doctors NOT administer IV fluids, until after the blood work is reviewed. However, this creates the ultimate dilemma: if the patient actually has heat stroke, then IV fluids are essential to prevent the person from dying. If the person, has hyponatremia then the IV fluids could kill the person.
So, what does this mean? It seems it’s a 50/50 shot. The answer is in prevention! It should be made mandatory that all children participating in highschool activities be provided a sports drink, like Gatorade/Poweraide, Vitamin Water, etc. Secondly, the sports drink that’s provided should contain sodium.
If there isn’t access to sports drinks, then the person should consume salt tablets over the counter. The product I have located is Thermotabs. They are available at Drugdepot.com. I would highly recommend that athletes etc. use these, especially prior to and during intense workouts.
People have developed a caution regarding salt. They consume low salt/no salt products. I can only wonder if this is part of the reason of why hyponatremia cases continue to rise. There has been a steady increase since 1999.
In conclusion, I believe that a person should listen to their body and to quote a famous sports drink company, “Obey your thirst”. If you are thirsty, drink. If you aren’t, then don’t. However, be careful of what you drink. Don’t consume large sums of water while working out. It could kill you.