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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is hypernatremia?

Hypernatremia is an imbalance of sodium and water in your body. The amount of sodium (salt) in your blood is higher than normal. Sodium is an electrolyte (mineral) that helps your muscles, heart, and digestive system work properly. It helps control blood pressure and fluid balance. Hypernatremia can become life-threatening if left untreated.

What increases the risk for hypernatremia?

Your sodium level may increase if you get too much sodium through food, antacids that have sodium, or tube feeding. Hypernatremia may also occur when too much water leaves your body and you become dehydrated. Dehydration can be caused by not drinking enough water or by losing body fluid through sweat or urine. Infants and elderly people are at increased risk of hypernatremia. The following may also increase your risk of hypernatremia:

What are the signs and symptoms of hypernatremia?

How is hypernatremia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you about the medicines you take and your symptoms. Tell your provider how much liquid you drink and if you have been urinating more often recently. Your provider will do a physical exam to look for signs of dehydration. You may need also need any of the following:

How is hypernatremia treated?

Treatment depends on the cause of your hypernatremia and how severe it is. You will receive liquids to help balance your level of water and sodium. You will also receive treatment for any conditions that caused your hypernatremia.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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