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Discharge Instructions for Hypernatremia

You have been diagnosed with hypernatremia. This means you have too much sodium in the blood. It can be caused by a high salt intake. But it is more often due to fluid loss. Loss of too much fluid can occur if the kidneys excrete too much urine. This is called polyuria. Fluid loss can also be caused by excessive sweating. This can happen during hot weather or exercise. It can be caused by diarrhea or vomiting. It can also be caused if you do not drink enough water. If not treated right away, it can cause a seizure or a loss of consciousness. It can also lead to death. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirst

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • Low blood pressure

Diet Changes

Limit all foods that are high in sodium. Make sure to avoid:

  • Canned soups

  • Frozen dinners

  • Commercially prepared tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce

  • Pizza

  • Potato and corn chips

  • Olives

  • Pickles

  • Soy sauce

  • Cottage cheese

  • Canned chili and stew

Other Home Care

  • Drink more fluids as advised.

  • Have your sodium levels checked as often as advised by your doctor. This is very important if you are taking a diuretic. This is a medication that helps flush water from the body.

  • Replace your body fluids after vomiting or diarrhea. Ask your healthcare provider for the best way to do this.

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking. These include both prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Some of these can raise sodium levels.

  • Take all medications as directed.


Make follow-up appointments as advised by our staff. Your doctor will need to watch your condition closely. You may need extra care if you have a health condition that causes your hypernatremia.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Muscle twitching, spasms, or cramps

  • Fatigue

  • Confusion

  • Loss of consciousness or fainting

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness


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