Climate Change Boosts Low Sodium Levels Hospitalizations

Climate Change Boosts Low Sodium Levels Hospitalizations

A seasonal change in hyponatremia, a condition that causes the sodium concentration in the blood to be abnormally low, is more likely to happen during the hottest days of the summer. However, it is unknown whether this applies to areas where the temperatures are low. A new study aims to examine the impact of environmental temperature on hyponatremia under existing and future climate conditions.

Humans need sodium for several reasons, for instance, regulation of the heartbeat, digestion, mental activity, and blood pressure. Hyponatremia leads to lower sodium levels in the blood and occurs in around one-third of hospitalized individuals. People who have mild hyponatremia may not experience any symptoms, but if sodium levels are decreasing fast, they may experience migraines, trouble concentrating, and even coma.

Hyponatremia may be caused by sweating, diarrhea, CVDs, or kidney failure. Seasonal temperature variations are also associated with higher chances of hyponatremia in hospitalized individuals during hot summer days. Therefore, the researchers of this study investigated the impact of environmental temperatures on the likelihood of hospitalization due to this condition.

Severe hyponatremia is significantly higher above specific temperatures, and older people are more likely to suffer from it. When the temperatures are incredibly high, older women have a higher chance of being hospitalized due to hyponatremia than in periods when the temperatures are lower. Hyponatremia is more likely to occur during hot summer days, and the likelihood decreases during cold days. 

The findings suggest that if the temperature increases by 1℃ the number of patients hospitalized due to hyponatremia increases by 10%. The research team suggests that vulnerable people must be monitored to be adequately protected. Nevertheless, this study fails to thoroughly examine the potential mechanisms of hyponatremia that could lead to different advice for treatment.

Photo by Xavier Balderas Cejudo on Unsplash

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