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Index: December 2010
Clinical Focus:Respiratory Care
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December 2010
Clinical Focus: Respiratory Medicine
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doi: 10.3810/psm.2021.12.12
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Volume 36: No.1
Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia
Mitchell H. Rosner, MD
Abstract: Disorders of serum sodium concentration occur commonly in athletes participating in endurance sports. While hypernatremia is the most commonly seen disorder, hyponatremia can occur in 2% to 7% of participants. Hyponatremia is due to a combination of excessive water or hypotonic fluid intake as well as high levels of arginine vasopressin (or anti diuretic hormone), which limits the ability of the kidney to excrete water. Most of these cases are associated with either no or minimal side effects and do not require specific therapy other than close monitoring and fluid restriction. However, a small number of athletes may present with severe and life-threatening hyponatremia associated with cerebral edema and possibly noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. Rapid diagnosis and appropriate therapy of these symptomatic athletes with hypertonic saline is required to prevent severe complications or death. The ability to have rapid on-site measurement of serum sodium concentration greatly facilitates accurate diagnosis and therapy. Prevention is based on widespread education regarding the risks of overhydration and judicious intake of fluids during endurance events.

Keywords: hyponatremia; cerebral edema; therapy; hypertonic saline

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