Low Sodium levels.

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As some of you will know I have been having a little bit of a tough time from the 'professionals' and I use the term loosely in the UK - social workers to be specific.

After what appeared to be 4 episodes/strokes/seizures in 3 days the social worker and I were at stand off and trust me almost at OK Coral stage had we been in the USA all because there was a lack of willingness to listen to some questions I wanted answered and some demands I was making - like I want to be trained so I CAN care for my mum safely - to be fair probably not helped by my need to add sarcastically is that just too much to ask.

Well things have moved on and mum is now unable to be coherent, is hallucinating all the time and is in an acute medical ward which does NOT have the staffing capacity to manage the sudden influx of 3 patients with dementia. So this morning I rang as always to see how she was. She fell last night and then this morning climbed OVER the safety rails and fell out of bed cutting her head. Now dont ask me hopw she managed this because she is infirm and 92 but hey ho thats what she did.
Obviously worried I went in immediately and sure enough bandage round head. I asked her what she did and she said she was trying to save the cat from falling of the tree ------hmmmmm Okaaaay. I have been with her for 9 hours today to stop her from falling - I left her twice to get some fresh air and to later grab a bite to eat and what happens I come back to find her on the floor again both times. I am abviously not happy.

That aside however I then find out that the doctors think they may have a solution to whats wrong. They tested her for sodium and its low - outside the range type low. Now I had always thought that giving my mum plenty of liquids was good for her but apprently in some case not so. In true fashion I did what we all do and googled low sodium levels.
Common low sodium symptoms include:

weakness - tick
fatigue - tick
headache - tick
nausea and vomiting
muscle cramps
confusion - tick - tick - tick - tick
irritability - tick

So they have restricted her fluid intake to 1 litre a day to try and increase the sodium levels.

I thought I would post this just in case the symptoms come your way people xxxxx

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A few years ago a doctor tested my mom's potassium level and said it was low, so he put her on potassium supplements and told her not to eat any salt - to top that off she rarely drinks liquids. She was already taking diuretics...recipe for disaster!! A week or two of this regimen and she ended up in the hospital with what they called a "heart event", for lack of a better name for it. Similar to a heart attack but there was no lasting damage to her heart. In my college biology classes we learned that all muscles operate on what is called the "Sodium - Potassium pump" that regulates the electrical impulses that keep all muscles in the body running smoothly, and the heart is a very vital muscle. Calcium is also an important factor in this system. Anyway, most of us know that salt is sodium chloride, our primary source of sodium, and without that component things can really get out of whack. So if a person, especially the elderly, is taking supplements of potassium, sodium or calcium and/or diuretics (which prevent water retention), they need to drink plenty of water and make sure their levels of ALL these important minerals are kept in balance with eachother. If you restrict fluids, muscle cramps will occur, and can result in a higher risk for heart attack. Would be nice if doctors warned patients of this danger, but unfortunately they either don't know or don't take the time to do so.
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Babalou they have already told me its not my fault hun they are reviewing all her meds as independently they would not necessarily cause a sodium drop but in coordination may. Polypharmacy is a really interesting subject and I know that drugs can interact with others to produce hyponatremia but its a matter of sorting out which ones, if any, are responsible or whether like others have said it is down to a variety of other things. the doctors have already said that at her age the organs start to deteriorate or malfunction so I think its a wait and see time at the moment. At least she didnt fall through the night (they got in a special to sit with her in case) 4 falls in 12 hours certainly will have exacerbated the problem thats for sure.
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My best to you and your Mum!
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emjo I think I hjave circumvented being homeless - the doctors ALL say I do a brilliant job so I think the social worker is backing down little - failing that I will make a formal complaint about the way they railroaded my mother - I think I may do that anyway. Mind you if my mother has any more falls while under hospital care I may well take them on too - I am so strong at the moment with regard to mums safeguarding issues that I cannot tell you how far I am prepared to go - amazing how a couple of nights full sleep will recharge the batteries.
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Mother did that to herself about 6 years ago ( aged 96) and ended up in hospital until it was corrected. Apparently, she simply drank too much. However, looking back, she was never quite the same afterwards. That was when the paranoia started, She changed her will and several times, thought my sis and had conspired to put her in a nursing home etc. We only have her word for it that that was what happened, as she was secretive about her medical info, so no one had access to her doc. Hope your mum recovers fully. The falls are not a good thing.

I read a post by you a few days ago that if your mum goes into a facility, you are out on the street. Just wondering if you care to share what your plan for you was when you went into this? I would be very antsy if I was looking at not having a roof over my head. I hope you have some alternatives. ((((((hugs)))))
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This problem, hyponatremia, I think it's called, is often caused by various medications, CHF, various cancers, liver problems, kidney problems, etc. It is very rarely caused by drinking too much water...she'd have to be drinking barrels of water to cause her sodium to be low enough to cause symptoms. Please, please don't think that this is your fault!
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Jude, I just want to alert you to the fact that there is more than one source of low sodium (remind me to tell you about the time different docs would come into my mom's room, one bringing 5 bottles of water, the next one shouting "why are you drinking all this water? Stop immediately!") There is something off, possibly in your mom's metabolism that is causing her to loose sodium. Have they checked her potassium as well? Has anyone checked her kidney function? Poor mom, poor Jude! Hope things start looking up.
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Well it seems to be a move in the right direction - fingers crossed but geez it has been a real eye opener
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Whoa, Jude! Never knew that! Thanks for the info. Geez, I hope she gets better and you get to bring her home soon.
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