Salt Overdose

Salt Overdose

Salt or sodium chloride is the body’s source of sodium. This is an important electrolyte that is required by the body for normal functioning. If a person has too much salt in their body system, it leads to an overdose and may cause a lot of symptoms [1, 2].

What is Salt?

Sodium chloride is introduced to the body in several ways. It can be taken orally, inhaled or given intravenously. Salt is used in cooking and is also abundant in condiments and processed foods.

Inhaled sodium chloride is used to loosen up the secretions in patients diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Intravenous sodium chloride therapy is prescribed to patients who has decreased sodium levels secondary to dehydration or excess sweating.

There are no common side effects that are associated with sodium chloride treatment but hypersensitivity to this compound should be reported to the physician right away [1, 2, 3].

How much is Salt Overdose?

The serum sodium level should reach to more than 145 mEq/L before it causes any symptoms related to overdose. The amount of salt the patient received is easier to monitor if they receive it intravenously.

Estimating the amount of salt in the diet is harder because it depends on several factors such as the saltiness of the food and the body’s absorption of sodium. In 2013, there was a boy who fell into a coma after drinking one quart of soy sauce [3, 4, 5].

What are Salt Overdose symptoms?

Some of the initial symptoms of salt overdose is dryness of the throat and increased thirst. Fluid will move from the interstitial space to areas such as the lungs and the brain.

Fluid accumulation in the lungs lead to labored breathing and chest pain. If the fluid shift to the brain it may cause seizures to the patient. Other symptoms associated with salt overdose would include vomiting, nausea, weakness, kidney failure, heart failure and even death [3, 4, 6].

What is Salt Overdose treatment?

The management for salt overdose is to correct the sodium level in the body. The serum level of the sodium must be measured initially to identify the extent of the overdose. Sodium level is corrected at a rate of about 2-3 mEq/L/h for the first 2-3 hours.

The sodium level is constantly monitored every 2-3 hours to know the response of the patient of the treatment.

Neurologic symptoms are assessed and the correction rate is decreased as the symptoms of the patient has improved. If the patient presented symptoms of dehydration, the fluid level of the patient must be corrected as well [3, 4, 6].

How to prevent Salt Overdose?

Salt overdose can be avoided in patients who receive sodium chloride therapy by regular monitoring of the patient’s serum sodium level. Assessment for early symptoms of salt overdose can also assist in detecting the overdose.

These individuals must also be advised to avoid foods that are known to be high in sodium. This will help in preventing a further increase in the sodium level of the patient [3, 4, 6]. 

Overdosing on salt is real and it can have serious consequences. Share your knowledge about this condition in the comment section below.

References

  1. Drugs.com. (2016, August 8). Sodium Chloride. Retrieved from Drugs.com: https://www.drugs.com/cdi/sodium-chloride.html
  2. Everyday Health. (2016, August 16). What Is Sodium Chloride (Generic)? Retrieved from Everyday Health: http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/sodium-chloride
  3. Tapire, M. (2016). Signs & Symptoms of Salt Overdose. Retrieved from eHow: http://www.ehow.com/info_8246505_signs-symptoms-salt-overdose.html
  4. Lukitsch, I. (2016, August 24). Hypernatremia Treatment & Management. Retrieved from Medscape: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/241094-treatment
  5. Gayomali, C. (2013, June 10). Yes, drinking a quart of soy sauce will probably kill you. Retrieved from The Week: http://theweek.com/articles/463400/yes-drinking-quart-soy-sauce-probably-kill
  6. Soloway, R. A. (2013, September). Sodium: Too Much of a Good Thing. Retrieved from Poison Control: http://www.poison.org/articles/2013-sep/sodium-too-much-of-a-good-thing

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