What are the other names for this test?
Sodium blood test, Na test
What is a sodium test?
A sodium blood test is a health screening test that helps to determine whether you have enough sodium levels in your blood. Sodium is one of the significant electrolytes. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals found in blood, tissue, urine, and other body fluids. Sodium helps to regulate the amount of fluid in the body. It provides support for the functions of muscles and nerves. Most sodium comes from the food you use daily. Your kidneys release excess sodium into the urine. Your body aims to maintain sodium levels in the close range by
- Developing hormones that may increase (natriuretic peptides) or decrease (aldosterone) sodium levels released in urine.
- Developing hormones that help to lose water from the body is called antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
- Controlling thirst; you become thirsty and want to drink water if a 1% increase of sodium rises in your blood. It helps to maintain recommended sodium levels.
The water quantity in your body changes with the change in blood sodium levels. High or low sodium levels may indicate kidney problems, dehydration, and other health problems.
What is the purpose of this test?
A sodium blood test helps to see abnormal sodium levels in your blood. This test is a routine test often included in an electrolyte panel. This test is also part of two group tests, comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) and basic metabolic panel (BMP). A sodium blood test may use to:
- Diagnose electrolyte imbalances and acid-base imbalances.
- Find the reason and how well treatment is going if you experience dehydration or deposition of fluid into your body.
- Evaluate many chronic or mild diseases, including the brain, lungs, kidneys, thyroid, heart, and adrenal glands (above your kidneys).
- Observe side effects from medications, such as the intake of diuretics that may change your sodium levels in the blood.
- Monitor the sodium levels if you are already taking treatment for a low or high amount of sodium.
You can schedule a sodium test here to check the sodium levels in your blood.
When do I need to take this test?
You may need a sodium blood test if you see symptoms of high or low sodium levels in your blood. Signs and symptoms of high sodium levels are:
- Muscles cramps
- Less pee or decreased urge to urinate.
- Confusion and anxiety
- Seizures. A sudden and uncontrollable problem in the brain.
- Vomiting. A loose, watery and increased bowel movements.
High sodium levels are also known as hypernatremia. If you have severe high sodium in your blood, this results in coma and life danger without treatment.
Symptoms of low sodium levels are:
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- In extreme cases, coma
Low sodium levels are also known as hyponatremia. You may not experience symptoms of low sodium levels when they decrease slowly. It is because sodium tests are often recommended if you have no symptoms.
If you have abnormal blood sodium levels, your provider may ask for urine sodium levels to find the cause of an imbalance. You may also need a urine sodium test to see the reason for kidney disease if your results of kidney tests are abnormal.
The meal you take on a test day may affect your sodium levels. A 24-hour urine sodium test may recommend reducing the effect of a single meal on your urine sodium result.
What is the procedure for this test?
A sodium test often performs with a blood sample. The following are the steps for this test after visiting the laboratory.
- Sit in front of your provider. Be relaxed and stay in a fixed position. It is difficult for your provider to collect a blood sample if you do the muscle movement.
- Remove the portion of your cloth from the arm.
- A small needle will inject into a vein in your arm.
- A small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
- Blood samples will store in the laboratory for examination of an allergy.
- You can go home for regular activities.
- This test usually takes five minutes.
Your provider may ask for a urine sodium test. For a 24-hour urine test, you have to follow these steps that include:
- Starting urine in a toilet in the morning without collecting it. Note the time of urinating
- Put your urine in the container for the next 24 hours
- Store that urine in a refrigerator or at a cool place
- Give your container with urine to the lab care as per the guidelines.
How do I need to prepare for this test?
Your provider will guide you about special preparation for the sodium blood test. You may need to avoid specific medicines before the test. If your provider asks for additional blood tests, you may need to fast for several hours before the test. You can consult here with a provider if you want to discuss this test.
Are there any risks involved in this test?
A sodium test does not have high risks when you give a blood sample. Veins differ from person to person. Some people or children may have difficulty providing a blood sample compared to others. You may experience low risks when the needle injects into your vein. These risks include
- Extreme Bleeding
- Slight pain
- Hematoma (Deposition of blood under the skin)
What do the test results indicate?
The sodium test results depend on many factors, such as age, gender, and medical history. The test results may also slightly differ among laboratories. It is because each lab may use different methods for examination.
The reference range for sodium in adults is about 136-145 mmol/L (millimole per liter). You may experience low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia) if your test values lie below 136 mmol/L. High blood sodium levels (hypernatremia) may develop if your test values lie above 145 mmol/L.
Low blood sodium levels may cause due to the following reasons:
- Lose sodium due to possible health conditions. These include diarrhea, excessive sweating, vomiting, kidney disease, intake of diuretics, or low cortisol, aldosterone, and sex hormone levels.
- High amounts of water intake during exercise
- Fluid deposition in the body (edema) due to diseases include heart problems, cirrhosis, and kidney disease, specifically protein loss.
- Production of a large amount of ADH allows your body to store a high water amount.
High blood sodium levels may happen due to the following reasons:
- Dehydration - loss of water results from avoiding drinking water.
- Use of high amounts of salt in the diet
- Cushing syndrome - A disorder in which your body produces a large amount of cortisol hormone for a long time.
- Disorder of adrenal glands
- Diabetes insipidus - A rare condition that develops due to low ADH.
If you have low blood sodium levels because of less sodium intake, this also indicates low urine concentration.
- Low urine sodium levels may show dehydration, heart failure, liver disease, or nephrotic syndrome (protein loss from the body).
- High urine sodium levels may show intake of diuretics or Addison disease.
Request an online order for a sodium test here and discuss your test results with professional healthcare.
What factors may affect the test results?
If you have abnormal sodium test results, you don't have always health problems that require treatment. High blood sugar may also change your test results. Specific medicines may reduce or raise your sodium levels in the blood, including diuretics and nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
What additional tests do I need along with this test?
Your healthcare provider may ask for other tests with a sodium test. These tests will look for:
- Sodium levels in your urine
- Electrolyte levels like potassium, chloride, etc.
- Uric acid levels
- Urea levels
- Acid-base balance (Anion gap test often used)
- Urine concentration
- Blood concentration