Sodium, one of the electrolytes, is normally found in the highest amounts in the blood, with very small amounts within the cells of the body. Sodium is very important in maintaining normal fluid levels in the body, and levels are affected by the amount of sodium (salt) in food, and the amount 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. Urine sodium levels are measured when blood levels of sodium are low, and the results are very specific to how well the kidneys are functioning. The results are used to diagnose kidney disease and adrenal gland dysfunction. Low urine sodium levels are seen in people with not enough sodium in their diet, diarrhea, extreme sweating, CHF (congestive heart failure), COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Cushing's syndrome, or kidney failure. High urine sodium levels are seen in people with starvation, dehydration, under-active thyroid or adrenal glands, and in people who are taking diuretics (water pills). Urine sodium levels are dependent upon the amount in the diet; high sodium intake will result in high urine levels.
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