Sodium is an essential mineral and electrolyte in the body that is particularly important for healthy nerve and muscle function, controlling fluid levels inside and outside the cells, and maintaining normal blood pressure. The body cannot produce the mineral on its own; it receives supplies through the food and drinks you consume, most commonly in the form of salt.
It is crucial to maintain normal levels of sodium for optimal health; amounts that are too high or too low can produce problematic symptoms and various health complications. While the body can typically maintain a healthy sodium level range, many factors can disrupt this delicate balance.
An at-home sodium test is an effective and reliable way to determine your sodium levels in the privacy and convenience of your own home. This article explores what a home sodium test kit is in more detail, how it works, and where to get one. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is A Home Sodium Test Kit?
A home sodium test, also known as a na blood test, is used to determine the concentration of sodium in the blood. Your doctor can offer the test as part of a routine basic metabolic or electrolyte panel health exam.
The kidneys regulate sodium levels in the blood to keep them within the optimal range; however, issues with hormone production, medications, kidney problems and other illnesses, or having too little or too much fluid in the body can cause levels to become abnormal, with even small shifts in sodium levels causing potential health complications.
A sodium blood test can reliably help to detect and monitor sodium imbalances, determine possible causes, evaluate the condition of major organs, and monitor the effectiveness of treatments and medications that affect sodium levels (such as diuretics).
How Does A Home Sodium Test Kit Work?
At-home sodium tests are available and require either a urine or blood sample.
A home sodium urine test comprises a container, a test strip, and a set of illustrated instructions.
The procedure includes collecting fresh urine in the container and then briefly dipping the test strip into the urine. After 60 seconds, assess how the reagent tip of the test strip has reacted to the sample and compare it to the colour chart provided in the instructions. Depending on the colour of the tip, you can determine whether your sodium levels are high, low, or within the normal range.
A home sodium blood test comprises a collection tube, a lancet, alcohol wipes, an instruction guide, and a return bag.
The process involves disinfecting the area (the tip of your finger) with a wipe and using the lancet (a small needle) to draw some drops of blood before depositing it into the collection tube. Once you have collected sufficient blood to fill the tube, tightly secure the lid and place it in the return bag to mail to the lab for testing.
Why Test Sodium Levels?
A sodium test is particularly important if you or your doctor suspect an imbalance, which is most often the case following a recent injury, surgery or illness; if you struggle to regulate your salt or water intake; if you regularly receive intravenous fluids; or if your doctor has prescribed certain medications that affect hormone production or water retention.
Symptoms of low sodium (hyponatremia) include:
Shortness of breath
Symptoms of high sodium (hypernatremia) include:
Dry mouth and eyes
Swelling and fluid build-up
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Who Should Take A Sodium Blood Test?
Some people are more prone to sodium imbalances and, therefore, would benefit from regular testing. A sodium blood test is advised if you have:
A family history of kidney problems
Kidney disease or kidney stones
High blood pressure
Recently suffered a serious injury or undergone surgery
A history of urinary tract infections
Been prescribed certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs or medications that affect hormone production or water retention
Where Can I Get A Sodium Blood Test?
You can get a sodium test as part of a routine health exam at your doctor’s surgery, health clinic, hospital, or clinical laboratory. Your doctor will usually request such a test if they suspect you have abnormal sodium levels, free of charge; however, you can also get tested without a doctor’s referral from a walk-in clinic.
Alternatively, you can purchase a sodium blood test online or from your local pharmacy to conduct in the privacy of your home. Results are usually available within 1-3 days of the sample reaching the lab.
Take Control Of Your Health With A GlycanAge Test
A sodium blood test is an accurate and reliable indicator of the state of your general health by detecting and monitoring conditions that may affect the balance of fluids, minerals, and electrolytes in the body. However, such tests often only detect health conditions once they have developed and progressed to the stage of producing problematic symptoms.
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The GlycanAge Team