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My mother has been on a low sodium diet since the 80's. My mother has been forgetful since 2007. Confusion started last month and went away for 3 weeks and recently came back. She is tired everyday and she gets nauseous. She just came back from the doctor. Her sodium level is just a little low. Could that cause her symptoms of confusion?

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My father-in-law was hospitalized (this was years ago) for fainting and other issues. It turned out it was simply low potassium.

As Bablou so wisely said sodium is an electrolyte (as is potassium). Balance of electrolytes is key. Another thing about sodium - it's being found in some studies that older people (in general) shouldn't be on low sodium diets. These one size fits all (and all ages) conclusions can be far off the mark.

The main thing is to go back to the doctor with your mother and say that she is not doing well. There is confusion. Could this be from an imbalance of some kind? An infection? A medication? Blood test can tell a lot, but the tests need to be read by a skilled professional who knows the meaning of the full panel.

Keep at it before you let them brush her off as having confusion because of "aging" or even dementia. Everything needs to be checked before coming to such a conclusion.

We'd love an update on what happens,
Carol
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IF yuo typically use salt with iodine added, it could be that she's also experiencing iodine deficiency. A couple of years ago I had that (often misdiagnised as hypothyroidism - which requires Big Pharma med$); started taking an iodine supplemnet daily and was totally "cured" in 6 weeks. MOST standard US MDs are UNaware of the importance of iodine or what level your body really needs. I'd consider checking that and/or just giving her a low-level iopdine supplment to see if it helps her. Also - iodine absorption is blocked by cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, as well as by soy foods) so if she eats lots of those (I used to - part of my problem!) you should remove from her diet for a while.

Sadly, the great majority of American MDs know little to nothing about the effect of diet on our health. :(
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DEFINTITELY! My mother was so low on sodium she had to be kept in the hospital and at that time they said that that was why she was so confused. She was on sodium pills for 2 months to get the level up where they want it.
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Yes low sodium can cause confusion.
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Yes Laura my mom too had sodium levels so low she was on a sodium tablet for several months. That + a UTI caused her to be so confused and even combative which was not her personality at all.
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Thank you everyone. My mother had blood tests which showed low sodium but I was told that it's not low enough to cause her confusion. Her doctor prescribed a half pill of zoloft for a week and then a full pill. I started salting her food a little bit two days ago. My father noticed that my mother is walking better. She was very confused for a longer period of the day yesterday until bedtime. I noticed that she is also very anxious so I started giving her the half zoloft yesterday like the doctor suggested. Her symptoms of confusion and tiredness don't seem like just dementia to me. They seem more like an imbalance or like something else is going on. She had brain scans two weeks ago, It will be almost a month before we get the results. Before my mother became confused she fell a few times.
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Look at ALL the bloodwork, not just one item. Then factor in all the meds and interactions. You really need to go with her to the MD, take notes and ask questions. Don't rely on her faulty memory to tell you what the problem is.
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Sodium is an electrolyte. When your electrolytes are out of balance, there is usually an underlying cause. Was she checked for a UTI? Was her kidney and heart dunction checked? Thyroid? A good eldercare doctor doesn't just look at the blood tests, they also look at how the patient is doing functionally.

I agree, go back to the doctor with her and make sure the doc knows she is NOT doing fine, which is almost certainly was mom is saying.
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Thanks. Great question. Never heard that low sodium could be a problem.
Great Answer too!!
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I would test her thyroid. The symptoms you describe are typical of hypothyroidism. It is important to remember that a body has a sodium-potassium pump which must be balanced. When you don't consume enough sodium, you will throw that out of balance. If she has been "forgetful" since 2007, then her dementia is progressing. What did her doctor say?
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