Low Blood Sodium Tied to Impaired Thinking in Older Men

From Drugs.com - February 8, 2018

Low Blood Sodium Tied to Impaired Thinking in Older Men

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2018 -- Lower sodium levels in the blood are associated with mental impairment and decline in older men, a new study finds.

The findings may be of concern, especially because certain drugs often used by the elderly can lower blood sodium levels, experts said.

Still, "at this point I do not think we can change our management of persons that fall into this category," said Dr. Maria DeVita, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Clearly more research is needed."

DeVita was not involved in the new study, which was led by Kristen Nowak of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The research included more than 5,400 healthy men, ages 65 and older, who were taking part in a major study of osteoporosis. Their health was followed for a median of just under five years.

According to Nowak's team, 100 men developed a condition called hyponatremia, where sodium levels in the blood are below healthy levels.

Compared to men with sodium levels in the normal range, men with slight hyponatremia were 30 percent more likely to experience mental impairment at the start of the study, and 37 percent more likely to experience mental decline over time.

The researchers also found an association between high levels of sodium in the blood and mental decline over time.

The study was published Feb. 8 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Speaking in a journal news release, Nowak noted that "slightly lower sodium levels in the blood are likely to be unnoticed in clinical practice."


Continue reading at Drugs.com »