Elderly patients with Covid-19, especially those with underlying medical conditions and signs of disorientation, should be promptly hospitalized and monitored for low sodium levels. According to the famous surgeon, if left unchecked, it could be fatal.
Low sodium or hyponatremia, which is a common electrolyte disturbance in these patients, if left unchecked, can lead to cerebral edema (accumulation of fluid around the brain) and can be fatal, says Dr. Utpal Anand, Associate Professor and Head of the Gastrointestinal Department. intestinal surgery. at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
Dr. Anand conducted a scientific study based on an analysis of the cases of 500 elderly patients with Covid-19 admitted to AIIMS, Patna. His discovery, which is a series of cases, was recently accepted for publication in the Medical Journal Armed Forces India (MJAFI), indexed by PubMed.
Dr Anand says the over-secretion of antidiuretic hormone due to stress in Covid-19 patients leads to a drop in sodium levels known as inappropriate antidiuretic hormone syndrome (SIADH), causing hyponatremia in Covid-19 patients. His research showed that SIADH is not the only cause of hyponatremia.
“Hyponatremia in Covid-19 can be multifactorial due to accompanying abnormalities such as diabetes and hypocortisolism, a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones. Concomitant pneumonia, respiratory distress and stress in coronavirus patients can also lead to hyponatremia, ”says Dr. Anand.
He also found that approximately 14% of elderly patients over 60 years old who were selected for the study suffered from hyponatremia. Thus, if any changes in behavior or consciousness are found in elderly people in home isolation with mild Covid-19 infection, Dr. Anand advises urgent hospitalization and an immediate assessment of their serum sodium levels.
“Correct clinical assessment and interpretation of laboratory parameters such as urine osmolality, plasma osmolality, cortisone levels, thyroid hormone levels, sugar levels and lipid profile are important for the treatment of Covid-19-associated hyponatremia. This will help to identify the many factors contributing to this so that a targeted treatment strategy can be developed to avoid serious consequences, ”he adds.