Throughout each premed virtual shadowing session, you will actively participate by answering and asking questions about the week’s proposed case. Like an in-person shadowing experience, we strive to stimulate students intellectually and ultimately reaffirm their interest in medicine.
Introduction – Hyponatremia
Hyponatremia is a disease process in which a person has low concentration in the blood. There are multiple etiologies of hyponatremia, and patients can present with low, normal, or high-volume status. Depending on the patient’s sodium levels, they will have no, mild, or severe symptoms.
Mr. F is a 60 yo M with PMH of heart failure and hypertension (high blood pressure) who is presenting to the ED with generalized weakness, shortness of breath, and bilateral leg swelling. He denies having any other symptoms.
He says that he has been taking his medicines daily, including his normal dose of a diuretic for his heart failure. He did stay that he was visiting New Orleans for his son’s wedding and has been drinking much more water than usual due to the heat, and felt more “swollen” than usual.
What is hyponatremia? Hyponatremia is a low sodium concentration in the blood. It is defined as a concentration less than 135 mEq/L. The patient’s sodium concentration tends to correlate to their symptoms.
What are the different types of hyponatremia?
When do people begin to have symptoms?Most people tend to have symptoms with sodium levels under 130 mEq/L. Our patient in the vignette, Mr. F, had a sodium level of 122.
How can one diagnose the type of hyponatremia?
How quickly should one’s sodium be corrected?
Take home points