The Dangers of Hyponatremia

Robinson's Multi-sport and Endurance Coaching

By Andy Blow

Hyponatremia again hit the headlines fairly recently with the publication of data1 on the prevalence of the condition in IRONMAN finishers in Europe. Worryingly, over 10 percent of athletes tested in a study conducted over the last eight or so years had hyponatremia at the finish line of an event. It’s a very important, potentially life and death, topic for endurance athletes to have a handle on, so what follows is an attempt to provide an overview of the basics of hyponatremia and how you can prevent it.

What Exactly is Hyponatremia?

Hyponatremia is a medical term describing low (hypo) blood sodium levels (natremia – Na is the chemical symbol for sodium).

There are a few different causes of the condition, but the main one of interest to athletes is when dilution of sodium levels in the blood is caused by excessive drinking. This can be…

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