Sodium is mainly obtained through the diet as salt (sodium chloride).

It is passively absorbed throughout the small intestine- meaning if there is more salt contained within the intestine than in the blood surrounding, it will diffuse across.

However, in the terminal ileum, sodium is actively absorbed, meaning the body expends energy to transport small amounts of sodium into the body.

Sodium deficiency is rare in the healthy population, because there is so much salt present in food. However, patients with IBD may experience deficiency due to inflammation, scarring or removal of the terminal ileum, or due to losing sodium through diarrhoea. Addison's disease can also cause sodium loss, which may be a concern to patients who are weaning off steroids. Sodium deficiency may also be more common in patients who are hospitalised, or who are taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs, a class of anti depressants).

Symptoms of sodium deficiency include headache, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, fatigue and muscle cramps.

Sodium is routinely checked by a blood test, 'Urea and Electrolytes' or U and E for short.

For More Information on Sodium Deficiency


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