What happens when an elder is admitted to the hospital with low sodium levels?

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My 87 year old mother has just been admitted to hospital with low sodium levels (this was only found out after blood tests at the hospital). Last week she kept falling and wouldn't settle at all. After 3 days the Nursing Home called a Doctor out and he thought she had a urine infection. I went to see her at the Care Home on Tuesday and she seemed delirious to me and very agitated, so insisted they called an ambulance. I'm glad I did because the Doctor at the Hospital said it can be very dangerous if left untreated. Has anyone else heard of this condition in the elderly. I was also wondering if this could happen again.

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The sodium/potassium balance in the blood is vital. My father-in-law was hospitalized because of low potassium balance due to a diuretic he took for blood pressure. That is not uncommon. Low sodium is less common, but this could be caused my medications. It is very dangerous so you did the right thing. I'm not saying this was caused by medications, but it's a valid question to ask the doctor. There may need to be an adjustment. UTI infections can cause similar symptoms, so it's good they checked for that as well. She's being taken care of, but finding out the cause is important, so you can watch her.
Keep us posted - this could be more common than we think.
Carol
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My mom is 75 and she was diagnosed with Low Sodium a few years ago, and put in ICU. They said 5 more hours she would have passed. She was monitored for 6 months Her medication, food and fluid intake and slowly came back around. This week she ended up in the hospital again and now has the same thing. I forgot to add the first time she had a problem with Urinating and caused UTI infections that would not go away for good. It kept coming back. They put a catheter in her temporarily until she was able to get more control over her muscle contractions that were not releasing all of the urine out of the bladder. This time their is not sign of UTI, but I have a feeling it has to do with the amount of water she drinks allot of water plus I think she take too many medications some are for blood pressure and I think she used to take a diuretic also. She has been hospitalized for 4 days now and I am very frustrated with the progress. Nobody seems to really talk about this condition and how to prevent this from happening. Everyone really needs to take care of their parents. Leaving it up to the doctors and nursing homes is not going to work. I have found the nurses and doctor are all too busy to give proper care to anyone especially in the hospital. Its ridiculous. While in the hospital, you need to stay on top of the staff there, because half the time they are not doing their job. Human nature of a tired nurse or tech person is to do a half a** job! They only do what they have time to do or what is needed by the one who stays on top of them ! Make sure they are giving the right meds. No 1 Mistake my mom was victim of that the first and second night this time in the hospital. I have had to do the research and practically tell them what is going on with her everyday. They would not be doing anything for her. if I wasn't there watching their every move. !! Very "Frustrated" with the whole Medical Field. Answer: Keep your parents active and stimulated with good food and exercise and activities that is what will keep them alive not the medicine.!!!!
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Thank you for your advice - I had never heard before of low sodium levels causing someone to be so ill. I spoke with the Doctor at the hospital this afternoon and they said if my mother responds within the next 48 hours she may be OK. It is so distressing to see her suffering like this, I can only hope and pray that things turn out for the better. Thank you once again.
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My mother is now on hospice. She's almost 94 and has been battling low sodium for the last couple of years. She is at the point where nothing more can be done to regulate her sodium. Her last visit to the hospital her sodium level went 129. She was admitted with 121 level. After being home for 2 days it dropped to 124. She made it very clear she is done with the hospital so, her Dr. recommended Hospice care. It was a very hard decision but, she just wants to be comfortable. Bringing your elderly parent back and forth to the hospital can often times do harm than good. It is too much for their fragile bodies. We all have the peace of mind that she will be made comfortable until her times comes. I want to add we have tried all of above suggestions on bringing up sodium levels. There is a time it just stops working.
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Halia, you might post this as a new question.
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My Mother has been hospitalized twice (years apart) for low sodium. In both cases she was having fainting spells, her speech was slurred, and she had trouble thinking clearly. She drinks a lot of water and they put her on a water diet at the time. Now, she drinks a small glass of gateraid every day and she eats a pickle every day. So far, no more problems
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My mother also was admitted to the hospital last year for this problem caused by a urinary tract infection. They had a hard time getting her back up to an acceptable level. Sodium as low as her was not only causes confusion, but can also cause seizures and stroke. Something to keep an eye on.
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A couple of years ago, my mom was admitted to a hospital with a possible stroke; she had called 911 and when the EMTs got there her bp was 220/120. I know! Very scary indeed! But imaging said "no stroke". When her labs came back, her sodium was quite low, and she was dehydrated. Since she was on the neuro unit (and they really didn't know much about sodium, kidneys and the like), one resident would come in and say "don't drink too much water; put salt on your food". 10 minutes later, another resident would come in with several bottles of water and say "you need to drink lots of water; NO salt on your food" 30 minutes later, first resident was back "WHO GAVE YOU THIS WATER?????" It would have been funny if it hadn't been MY mother.

I finally started a turf war; I went to the hospitalist from Internal Medicine who was called in to consult and said "Are you going to let them kill my mom because YOU'RE afraid to ask to have her transferred to YOUR service?". He grew some gonads and she was wheeled out of neuro an hour later.
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Its really serious and a tedious one. I am in hospital roghtnow just moved from icu to general. Sodium for my husband went as low as 103. He fell was delirious and confused. Its been 5 days now they first gave a NaCl IV then fluid restriction. Has improved to 125 but cant go home till 130.
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My husband is in the hospital with low soduim. It was 114 when admitted.
I called 911 because I could not wake him up for 45 min. The soduim level
was dangerous. They are slowly trying to get the level up. It is now at 126.
so he is out of critical care. He has pulmonary fibrosis and was also getting over an infection. The care has been excellent but they seem
to be saying the low soduim was caused by the infection and the lungs.
I am very concerned when I am able to take him home how can I check
on his soduim. This did not seem like one of the reasons for low soduim.
Barbara
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