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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:




Hypernatremia is a high level of sodium in the blood. It can be deadly if it is not treated.


This problem happens when there is too little water for the amount of sodium in the body.

The main cause is having more water leave the body than enter it. This causes dehydration . A person can become dehydrated in different ways, such as:

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Fever
  • Losing too much fluid by sweating
  • Vomiting Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Using certain medicines that increase urination (peeing)
  • Severe burns
  • Having certain health problems, such as diabetes or kidney disorder


Symptoms may be:

  • Dry mouth
  • Being very thirsty
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, or twitching
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Urinating (peeing) less than usual
  • Confusion
Dry Mouth.

Dry mouth is a symptom of hypernatremia.

Dry Mouth and Throathttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=82028202si2017_dry mouth and throat.jpgDry Mouth and ThroatNULLjpgDry Mouth and ThroatNULL\\hgfiler1\intellect\images\si2017_dry mouth and throat.jpgNULL12NULL2011-09-132963078202_657172Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. The doctor will also ask about fluid intake and urine output. A physical exam will be done.

Blood and urine tests will be done to check sodium levels.


The goal of treatment is to balance the fluids in the body. Fluids will be given by mouth or IV. The fluid will contain specific amounts of water, sugar, and sodium. Giving fluids slowly will lower the sodium to a normal level.

Medicine may also be given to ease nausea.


The risk of this problem may be lowered by drinking plenty of fluids.





  • Central diabetes insipidus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/central-diabetes-insipidus.
  • Dehydration and hypovolemia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dehydration-and-hypovolemia-in-adults.
  • Hypernatremia. Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/electrolyte-disorders/hypernatremia.
  • Hypernatremia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/hypernatremia-approach-to-the-patient.
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nephrogenic-diabetes-insipidus.
  • Qian Q. Hypernatremia. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2019;14(3):432-434.


  • Mark D. Arredondo, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.