Severe Hyponatremia Threatens 60-Year-Old’s Life: The Salt Intake Misconception

Posted by Watchdoq Newsportal on November 10, 2023     

A typical evening turned into a nightmare for a 60-year-old man named Maneesh. Rushed to the emergency room, he lay unconscious, his life hanging in the balance. The underlying culprit? Surprisingly, it wasn't a severe health condition or a sudden mishap. The cause was rooted in his attempts to lead a healthier life by reducing his salt intake, blindly following well-intentioned advice.

With a history of high blood pressure, Maneesh had started adhering to suggestions that cutting salt consumption could curb potential risks. But, this move towards 'healthy living' became alarmingly life-threatening.

Doctors investigating the situation discovered an almost shocking drop in his blood sodium levels. The customary range of 135-145 saw his levels at a staggeringly low 105, indicating an extreme case of hyponatremia, a potentially lethal condition. The revelation was laid bare by Dr. Sudhir Kumar, a seasoned neurologist who attended to Maneesh at Apollo Hospitals Jubilee Hills.

When consulting Maneesh’s family, it was unveiled that the advice to cut salt intake was seeded by friends and a family physician who suggested the same. The insidious triggers causing this dangerous decline in sodium levels were not just the low salt intake but also the excess loss of salt through urine, particularly due to his medication for blood pressure.

Recent research from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) highlighted that the average salt intake in India stands at eight grams, notably higher than the WHO's recommendation of five grams. The report accentuated disparities in consumption, with a higher intake among men, rural residents, and those who were overweight.

For Maneesh, his salvation came in the form of a saline infusion that slowly nursed him back to stability within two days. Dr. Sudhir recommended Maneesh revert to a regular salt intake and made appropriate modifications in his blood pressure medications.

Additional Insights:

It's not only the salt we sprinkle that matters. Consuming salt in moderation doesn't necessarily mean restricting it from our diets entirely. Various sources contribute to our salt intake, including the water we drink, which contains sodium. Additionally, salt fortification in India, specifically double fortified salt (DFS), is aimed at combating iron and iodine deficiencies across all age groups.

Source: The Hindu

The vivid saga of Maneesh's near-fatal misstep provides a stark reminder: even the most well-intended health advice can carry unforeseen risks. In the quest for wellness, balance and informed decisions remain the truest guides to a healthier life.