Can Having Low Sodium Make You Tired?

We hear a lot about sodium and health these days, mostly related to high blood pressure (hypertension). According to Cleveland Health Clinic, too much sodium in your diet can cause your blood pressure to rise, resulting in stiff blood vessels. This condition slows the flow of blood and oxygen to your major organs, which puts even more stress on your heart, causing blood pressure to increase even more. While it is essential not to overlook the role sodium plays in hypertension (especially if you have it), it is also important to realize that sodium is not all bad.

Sodium has several health benefits. Shape points out that the mineral helps your muscles function, which is important to prevent cramping. It causes your body to retain water, and while this is often seen as a negative side effect of too much sodium, your muscles and organs need some sodium to stay hydrated. Furthermore, if you exercise or participate in activities that cause you to sweat on a regular basis, you might lose sodium, which could lead to low levels.

Low sodium levels can lead to hyponatremia

Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when the amounts of water and sodium in your blood are not stable. Healthline reports that one of the symptoms related to hyponatremia is fatigue or a lack of energy. You may also have headaches, muscle cramps, and weakness. Mayo Clinic explains that this condition can actually be caused by drinking too much water, which dilutes the sodium in your blood. Additionally, some medications, such as diuretics and antidepressants, can lead to low amounts of sodium. Kidney, liver, or heart problems can cause water to build up in your body, lowering sodium levels in the blood. The elderly, athletes, and those eating a low-sodium diet are also at risk for developing this condition. 

Treatment for hyponatremia usually involves cutting back on fluids, per Healthline. To prevent low amounts of sodium in your blood, rehydrate with beverages that include electrolytes. According to Shape, adding small amounts of sodium to your diet can treat and prevent hyponatremia — though the American Heart Association (AHA) notes that most Americans already get more than enough sodium from their diets.

If you're concerned about sodium levels in your blood, ask your doctor about a blood test or a basic metabolic panel to measure the levels of minerals in your blood, per Healthline.