Sodium is one of the most important electrolytes that your body needs to function properly. Your organism is constantly working to keep your sodium concentrations at healthy levels, since low or high sodium can lead to complications.
But how can you check your sodium levels? Can you take an at-home sodium test? Keep reading to find out.
What is sodium?
Sodium is a mineral that functions as an electrolyte inside the human body. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, sodium is necessary for your cells to function properly. This electrolyte also helps maintain a correct balance of fluids inside your body.
Most people get enough sodium through their diet, and the kidneys are responsible for maintaining healthy sodium levels in your blood, since they can filter out excess sodium. But if you consume excessive amounts of sodium, your kidneys may not be able to eliminate the excess entirely, which can lead to high sodium levels.
Low sodium levels are known as hyponatremia, while high sodium levels are called hypernatremia. Both hyponatremia and hypernatremia can cause a wide range of symptoms and potential complications, and they both require medical treatment.
Can I check my sodium level at home?
You may need to test your sodium levels if your doctor suspects that you’re suffering from hyponatremia or hypernatremia. You can get a blood or urine sodium test.
Sodium tests are often performed in a laboratory or clinical setting, but there are also at-home sodium test kits that allow you to check your levels from the comfort of your own home. The most common type of home sodium level tester is a urine test. Sodium test strips can be used to determine the amount of sodium in a sample taken at home. In some cases, your doctor could request that you collect your urine over 24 hours to get a more accurate measurement.
According to Alberta Health Services, a sodium test can be used for different purposes, including checking your fluid and electrolyte levels, measuring the progression of certain diseases, and finding the underlying cause of high or low sodium levels.
It’s important to discuss your test results with a doctor, and to tell them about any medications you’re taking, since some of them can alter your results. According to Mount Sinai, some of the medications that can affect your sodium test results include:
What is a home sodium blood test kit?
Some companies offer fingerstick sodium blood test kits; however, it’s important to keep in mind that this method is still being validated. According to the NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine, clinical trials are currently being held to determine whether finger prick sodium tests are as accurate as traditional blood sodium tests.
If you need to get a sodium test, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about the best testing method for you. Different methods may be more convenient, depending on the reason why you need to get tested.
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Sodium (Blood) - urmc.rochester.edu
Sodium (Na) in Blood Test - myhealth.alberta.ca
Sodium blood test - mountsinai.org
Validation of Capillary Serum Sodium Levels - clinicaltrials.gov