Epilepsy Talk

Sodium — How Much Does Your Body Need? | November 22, 2019

You may think that sodium is a “bad guy” to be avoided or reduced at all cost, because too much is linked to high blood pressure.

But sodium is actually an essential electrolyte, and a deficiency can trigger seizures.

Seizures from low sodium levels are most likely to occur from a serious disease, acute infection or because you tried to run a marathon on a hot day.

One-time or isolated seizures from these causes don’t warrant a diagnosis of epilepsy.

However, epilepsy is sometimes misdiagnosed and you may have an underlying health condition that’s causing an electrolyte problem.

Although most epileptic seizures don’t seem to be caused by low levels of sodium, some might be and others may be made worse by lack of the electrolyte.

These electrolytes are essential for conducting electrical messages in your and throughout your body via nerves.

They’re also important for the flow of water into and out of all cells.

Low Sodium Levels

A chronically low level of sodium, negatively affects your brain and can trigger seizures, because it disrupts electrical activity and causes swelling.

It can be caused by severe lack of dietary salt, but it’s more often caused by profuse sweating, chronic diarrhea or excessive vomiting.

Other possible causes of dehydration include fever, abnormal kidney function, diabetes, head trauma or surgery involving the pituitary gland.

Also, imbalanced calcium and/or potassium levels, sickle cell disease, and use of drugs such as corticosteroids or diuretics.

Kidney disease or negative reactions to medications such as diuretics can trigger sodium levels.

And, Trileptal can reduce your blood-sodium levels over time!

So, it’s possible that epilepsy can begin as a condition unrelated to low sodium levels, but later aggravated and triggered by medication.

A sodium level in your blood that is too low is dangerous and can cause seizures and coma.

That’s because a lack of sodium causes your body’s blood volume to decrease.

This, in turn, will lead to a corresponding decrease in your blood pressure level.

Low blood pressure can also cause your heart rate to increase, as well as light headedness and sometimes shock.

Low blood sodium levels can also affect your brain, which is highly sensitive to changes in sodium levels.

Losing sodium quickly is a medical emergency. It can cause stupor, unconsciousness, seizures, coma and even death.

Unless the cause is obvious, a variety of tests are needed to determine if sodium was lost from your urine, diarrhea, or from vomiting.

High Sodium Levels

Very high sodium levels can lead to seizures and death.

Contrary to popular belief, the primary cause of high blood sodium levels is not consumption of too much salt, but dehydration (not enough water intake).

Lack of adequate water intake is a very common condition in the United States because most people don’t drink enough water each day, while also eating foods that are high in sodium.

The most common symptoms of high blood sodium levels are confusion, irritability, depression, fatigue, fluid retention, lack of coordination, muscle cramps or twitching. Also nausea, restlessness, and general weakness.

More serious symptoms of high sodium levels can include changes in blood pressure and heart rate, coma, seizures, and death.

The severity of the symptoms is related to how quickly your high sodium levels developed.

If your levels build up suddenly, your brain cells can’t adapt to their new high sodium environment.


Obviously, the key word here is balance. You don’t want your blood sodium levels to be too high or too low.

As a further precaution, you should have your physician check your blood sodium level as part of your annual physical exam.

Abnormal sodium levels are diagnosed by measuring the concentration of sodium in the blood.

Tests are used to determine hormone problems.

Your diet and use of diuretics must also be considered.

And a low sodium level can be just one manifestation of a variety of disorders.

While it can easily be corrected, the prognosis for the underlying condition that causes it varies.

Intravenous saline in a variety of concentrations may be used to correct the sodium deficit in your body.

The best bet is to go to your physician for a full blood panel.

Only then can you identify the condition and act to rectify it.

The simple step of monitoring your blood sodium level and adjusting your diet can make a big difference in your overall health — both immediately and in the long term.

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  1. I was on tegertal and it trriger low soidum levels and caused 20 seizures in me got on vempait and lessened seizures in me still have out of body experiences and seeing oroas takind keppera and gabapintin but somwhat under control

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Marsie — November 22, 2019 @ 10:04 AM

    • Out of body experiences are often an aura accompanied by a tonic clonic seizure. Is that your experience?

      But I’m glad your seizures and sodium levels are somewhat under control now.

      The sodium levels, no doubt, probably played a role in that.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2019 @ 10:38 AM

  2. The first time since I started having seizures in 1982, that I have read any information about the relationship of sodium levels in the body to seizures–that means it’s never been controlled either… ?? The original diagnosis was idiopathic epilepsy….

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by andy — November 22, 2019 @ 10:07 AM

    • I don’t think, sodium levels can mitigate your seizures entirely, but it’s a good idea to monitor them.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2019 @ 10:39 AM

  3. Goodmorning Phyllis 😊. I hope you and your husband are TRUELY enjoying your new addition 💞. I got a new chihuahua during the summertime and I have to tell you SHE RE-LIT MY HOUSE IN A VERY GOOD WAY!!!!!!! 😘🙏🏼🦅😇💞. I am honestly amazed at your timing for certain articles!! 🙏🏼🦅💗. You HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!!!!!! I guess as an epileptic I was stunned when “hyponatremia” hit me!! Of course until I ODDLY figured it out myself 5 years later!!!!!!! My husband and I couldn’t figure out the rashes, lethargy, numbness almost and even sight and smell (because I couldn’t really smell due to my nose always stuffed up). If it weren’t for you and your followers I WOULD NEVER HAVE THOUGHT OF IT!!!!!!! I never realized sodium was SO IMPORTANT!! Because I have nice fluffy family (lol) and it runs in our genes it came down to the TYPES OF MEDICATIONS!! Little did I or my doctor know anything!! It’s a really hard adjustment to make, but it will be made!! THANK YOU AND PLEASE SHARE WITH THE WORLD!!!!!!! They need to know!! Please make LOTS OF VERY GOOD MEMORIES TODAY!! 😊🙏🏼🦅😇💗😘

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — November 22, 2019 @ 10:12 AM

    • Kathy, if these posts help you, I’m thrilled.

      But much credit goes to you, for being so attentive to your body and what’s going on.

      Life with Emily is getting better every day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2019 @ 10:42 AM

      • OH NICE!! 😘😘😘😘😘. If I may ask once upon a time a long time ago 😂 (uh oh I’m getting old!!) I remember seeing “THROMBOSIS” on one of my bloodwork panels. Made me wonder is that a cause of either being an epileptic or the medication we have to take? Just a thought 🤔. Thank you and SO HAPPY TO HEAR ITS GETTING BETTER EVERYDAY!! 😘🙏🏼🦅💞

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — November 22, 2019 @ 10:47 AM

      • I don’t know. But, “Investigators suggested that AEDs may cause thrombosis to some extent…” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5038890/#__sec2title

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2019 @ 1:59 PM

      • Thank you 😊🙏🏼🦅💞

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — November 22, 2019 @ 2:00 PM

  4. What is the side effects after temporal lobectomy surgery

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Alicia — November 22, 2019 @ 1:18 PM

    • Temporal Lobectomy: The most common surgical procedure performed for epilepsy is the removal of a portion of the temporal lobe, or temporal lobectomy.

      These brain structures play an important role in the majority of temporal lobe seizures involving the seizure focus, or small area of the brain where seizures originate.

      The cerebrum, or largest part of your brain, is divided into four paired sections, called lobes — the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal.

      In a temporal lobe resection, brain tissue in the temporal lobe is resected, or cut away, to remove the seizure focus.

      In most cases, a mere 2 inches is removed. All or part of a left or right lobe may be removed surgically.

      These areas of the brain are common sites of simple and complex partial seizures, some of which may secondarily generalize.

      Seizures in the temporal, parietal, frontal or occipital lobes may be treated surgically if the seizure-producing area can be safely removed without damaging vital functions.

      It is the most successful type of epilepsy surgery and over 85% of patients enjoy a marked improvement in seizure control. Most of them need less medication after surgery.

      Approximately 25% of those who are seizure-free can eventually discontinue antiepileptic drugs. However, up to 15% of patients notice no improvement post-surgery.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2019 @ 2:02 PM

  5. I jus found this site.. just got our of the hospital from having a seizure due to low very low sodium. how long does it take to feel better i feel like i am in a constent state of fgoggieness

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by DARBY BENSEL — November 22, 2020 @ 4:28 PM

    • Do you have any meds to improve your sodium levels? Dietary advice?

      Some times the meds themselves will drain you of sodium. Have you had any blood work done?

      Theoretically, the rate of sodium correction should happen within 12-48 hours.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 22, 2020 @ 5:58 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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