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What is salt deficiency?

Salt is naturally found in foods, but most times, salt is added while preparing food. Salt or sodium chloride is an essential nutrient that helps maintain blood pressure and blood volume. It also helps control the body’s fluid balance. The condition of low salt levels in the body is termed hyponatraemia and/or hypochloraemia.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

The main signs and symptoms of salt deficiency are:

What are the main causes?

The main causes of salt deficiency are:

  • High levels of fluid or water in the body
  • Losing salt or both salt and fluid from the body
  • Kidney failure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Change in levels of certain hormones like low thyroid levels
  • Medications (diuretics, painkillers and antidepressants)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Severe diarrhoea and vomiting

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Salt deficiency is diagnosed by going through the patient’s medical history and performing a physical examination. Problems in the gastrointestinal, neurologic, heart, kidney and endocrine system are specifically looked for. Laboratory tests including a creatinine level test, complete metabolic panel, urinary and blood sodium and chlorine levels tests and other tests, if required.

Salt deficiency is treated based on its underlying cause. Following are the methods used to treat salt deficiency:

  • Sodium solution is given orally or via intravenous route (through the vein)
  • Dialysis to help the kidneys remove extra water from the body
  • Medications to retain the salt levels in the body
  • Medications to manage the symptoms of salt deficiency including seizures, nausea and headaches
  • A diet recommendation with adequate salt levels
  • Short-term treatments include adjusting medications and restricting water intake to treat the causes.
  1. Medicines for Salt Deficiency
  2. Doctors for Salt Deficiency
Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Endocrinology
15 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Endocrinology
23 Years of Experience

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Endocrinology
19 Years of Experience

Dr. M Shafi Kuchay

Dr. M Shafi Kuchay

Endocrinology
13 Years of Experience

References

  1. Michael M. Braun et al. Diagnosis and Management of Sodium Disorders: Hyponatremia and Hypernatremia. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Mar 1;91(5):299-307. American Academy of Family Physicians.
  2. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland, Ohio. Hyponatremia
  3. National Kidney Foundation [Internet] New York; Hyponatremia
  4. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Salt
  5. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day
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