Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Seek emergency care for anyone who develops severe signs and symptoms of hyponatremia, such as nausea and vomiting, confusion, seizures, or lost consciousness.
Call your doctor if you know you are at risk of hyponatremia and are experiencing nausea, headache, cramping or weakness. Depending on the extent and duration of these signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend seeking immediate medical care.
If you have time to prepare, here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- List any symptoms you or your loved one has been experiencing and for how long.
- Write down key medical information, including other medical problems for which you are being treated and the names of all medications, vitamins, supplements or other natural remedies you are taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if you are the one with symptoms of low blood sodium. Someone who accompanies you can help remember all of the information and provide support if you need immediate medical care.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For hyponatremia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What causes hyponatremia?
- How severe is the condition?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- How soon do you expect my symptoms will begin to improve?
- Am I at risk of any long-term problems?
- How can I prevent a recurrence of this condition?
- Do I need to make any changes to how much fluid I usually drink?
What to expect from your doctor
Being ready to answer your doctor's questions may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
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- What are your symptoms and when did they start?
- Have you started taking any new medications?
- Have your symptoms been getting any better or worse since they first developed?
- Have your symptoms included any mental changes, such as feeling confused, agitated or depressed?
- Have you had nausea, vomiting or diarrhea?
- Have you felt faint, had seizures or lost consciousness?
- Have you had a headache? If yes, has it gotten progressively worse?
- Have your symptoms included weakness, fatigue or lethargy?
- Do you use recreational drugs? If yes, which drugs?
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Spasovski G. Clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and treatment of hyponatraemia. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 2014; 29(suppl):i1.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Hyponatremia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/electrolyte_disorders/hyponatremia.html. Accessed March 14, 2014.
- Sodium, serum. Mayo Medical Laboratories. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/81692. Accessed March 15, 2014.
- Sterns RH. Causes of hyponatremia in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Bennett BL, et al. Wilderness medical society practice guidelines for treatment of exercise-associated hyponatremia. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 2013;24:228.