Sodium is a chemical element that is otherwise known as salt. It has an atomic number of 11 and a chemical abbreviation of Na. Its discovery is unclear; however, it is known that Roman soldiers used it as a headache remedy. It was first isolated as a chemical element in the early 1800s.
It is now commonly found in many foods and beverages, as well as commercial products like medicines. Dietary experts suggest that people consume at least 3400 mg of sodium per day as part of a healthy diet. It is found in popular foods like beef, cheese, pizza, breads, cereals, and soda.

Signs of a Sodium Deficiency

Despite being present in many commercially produced foods and beverages today, it is still possible for people to be deficient in their sodium intake. People who think to limit their intake of salt, for example, put themselves at risk of sodium deficiency.

Some of the symptoms of sodium deficiency include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle spasms, and seizures. The remedy to this problem is simply to consume more foods and beverages that contain sodium. The most severe cases of hyponatremia, or sodium deficiency, may require that people be hospitalized and receive sodium intravenously until their symptoms subside.

Sodium Excess

Likewise, it is possible to consume too much sodium in one's diet. Given its plentiful presence in foods that many people like to eat today, it can be easy for someone to accidentally overdose on the mineral. Some of the symptoms of sodium toxicity include lethargy, swelling, irritability, weakness, and muscle spasms.

More severe cases of sodium toxicity can cause people to experience seizures or even lapse into a coma. Toxic levels of sodium must be flushed out of the body. Patients who suffer from this condition may be hooked up to intravenous lines of water to help flush out the high levels of sodium in their bodies.