Sodium & Your Body

Sodium is the chief electrolyte which is found in large concentration in extra cellular fluid compartment. Nutritionally minerals are important. The daily requirement of macronutrients is less than 100 mg. These macronutrients are sodium, potassium, clorine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sulphur. The deficiency of these can prove fatal. Approximately body distribution of sodium is as follows: Sodium is found in the body mainly associated with chloride as sodium chloride. It is widely distributed in the food material more in animal than plants lowers major source is table salt, used in cooking or seasoning. It is found in cheese, butter, khoa etc. Sodium is absorbed in basal and lateral plasma membrane of intestinal and renal cells. Sodium pump activity transports sodium into extracellular fluid. Sodium is transported with the help of protein and glucose molecule.   Deficiency of sodium in plasma is called hyponatremia. Most common cause of hyponatrenia are diuretic medication, sweating, kidney disease, congestive heart failure and gastrointestinal loss.

Most commonly encountred cause of hyponatremia is due to the use of diuretics many of standard diuretics, medication act by promoting excretion of sodium by kidney, the objective of these medicines is to lower the total body sodium and thus reduce that total extracellular water. There are many diseases in which objective is desired viz. congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Reduced total body sodium is achieved but as the extracellular volume reaches critical dimensions there is counter effort to retain water which then dilute the sodium and hyponatermia results. Heavy sweating with adequate replacement of water, but not salt which is common cause of hyponatremia, due to kidney dysfunctions sodium ion is not reabsorbed and is thus excreted water.
Diarrhoea particularly of prolonged and severe will results in reduced sodium chloride level in the plasma and extracellular fluid. Symptoms of hyponatremia are primary neurological avoid their severity is dependent on the rapidity of onset and absolute decrease in plasma sodium ion concentration. Nausea, Malaise, headache, lethargy, confusion and obtundation, stupor, seizure and coma do not occur usually unless the plasma. Sodium ion concentration fall actually below 120 milimol/l on decrease rapidly.
If sodium ion concentration increase in extra cellular fluid upto 150 mil mol/l then this condition is called hypernatremia. This leads to clinical symptoms of hypertension, irritation, odema (swelling over body), drowsiness, dizziness and excitations. Hypernatremia occurs mostly due to heart failure, kidney failure and hyper secretion of aldosterone from the adrenal cortex.

Lecturer, Dept. of Kriya Sharir,
State Ayurvedic College, Atarra, Banda-210201