Dangers of low salt level in the body.

Q: My blood pressure is under control with Lisinopril (10 mg), Resperate, and various herbs and teas. But I run a lot and salt is one of the electrolytes I lose in a big way through sweating. Is eliminating salt completely dangerous for long distance running, or does it matter that I sweat it out anyway? I am a female.

A: Both salt and water are lost through sweating.  To maintain normal fluid balance in the body, both the salt and water losses need to be replaced.   Just drinking water during a long run will further increase the risk of low salt levels in the body because the water will dilute the salt that is left in the body.  Low salt levels, known as hyponatremia, can be very dangerous.  Symptoms can progress from muscle cramping to seizures and death.

Recently there has been a lot of controversy over the recommended restrictions on salt intake. Not everyone with high blood pressure is salt sensitive.  To read a balanced article about this controversy go to this article at About.com on Heart Disease.

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