How to Say It: hahy-per-nuh-TREE-mee-uh
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hypernatremia is a high level of sodium in the blood. It can be deadly if it is not treated.
This problem happens when there is too little water for the amount of sodium in the body.
The main cause is having more water leave the body than enter it. This causes dehydration. A person can become dehydrated in different ways, such as:
This problem is more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will be asked about your fluid intake and urine output. A physical exam will be done.
Blood and urine tests will be done to check sodium levels.
The goal of treatment is to balance the fluids in the body. Liquids will be given by mouth or IV. The fluid will contain specific amounts of water, sugar, and sodium. Reintroducing fluids slowly will lower the sodium to a normal level.
Medicine may also be given to ease nausea.
The risk of this problem may be lowered by staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Central diabetes insipidus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/central-diabetes-insipidus. Accessed August 18, 2021.
Dehydration and hypovolemia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dehydration-and-hypovolemia-in-adults. Accessed August 18, 2021.
Hypernatremia. Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-disorders/hypernatremia. Accessed August 18, 2021.
Hypernatremia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/hypernatremia-approach-to-the-patient. Accessed August 18, 2021.
Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nephrogenic-diabetes-insipidus. Accessed August 18, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 8/18/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.