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Confusion, fatigue and nausea: how to spot the signs of hyponatraemia in older people

Nurses should be alert to low sodium levels and dehydration in older people

Nurses should be alert to low sodium levels and dehydration in older people

  • Hyponatraemia is the most common electrolyte disorder seen in clinical practice
  • It is common among older people, especially those who are in hospital or care homes
  • Condition is easy to miss, with signs and symptoms consistent with multiple other diseases

Nursing staff caring for older people will often see patients who are confused, unsteady on their feet and prone to falls, and may assume these are common features of ageing.

Nurses may also focus on managing the effects of such signs and symptoms rather than addressing the cause.

However,

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