Sodium, one of the electrolytes, is normally found in the highest amounts in the blood, with very small amounts found within the cells of the body. Sodium is very important in maintaining normal fluid levels in the body. Levels are affected by the amount of sodium (salt) in food, and the amount of sodium that is recycled by the kidneys. Several hormones are key in the regulation of normal sodium levels, through management of the amount of sodium and water that is either saved or excreted by the kidneys. Low blood sodium levels are seen in people with inadequate intake of sodium (salt) in their diet, or who have received IV fluids that do not contain sodium; those who have diseases affecting hormone levels causing increased loss of sodium such as Addison's disease; kidney failure, vomiting or diarrhea, or the use of diuretics; CHF (congestive heart failure), excessive water intake, edema, or loss of fluid into the abdomen due to liver disease or cancer. High blood levels are seen in people with too much sodium in their diet, or who have received a large amount of IV fluids that contain sodium; those who have diseases affecting hormone levels causing decreased loss of sodium such as Cushing's syndrome; extensive burns, excessive sweating, or diabetes insipidus (DI).
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