Overview

Sodium is a type of metal that is very reactive. Since it's so reactive, sodium is never found in free form in nature. Instead, sodium is always found as a salt. The most common dietary form of sodium is sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is commonly referred to as table salt.

People take sodium by mouth in the form of sodium chloride for low sodium levels, to prevent kidney toxicity caused by the drug amphotericin B, and to prevent kidney toxicity caused by contrast agents used to image parts of the body.

People inject sodium intravenously (by IV) in the form of sodium chloride solution (called saline) to prevent kidney toxicity caused by the drug amphotericin B, to reduce brain swelling and pressure inside the skull, and for a complication of infection called sepsis.

People apply sodium in the form of sodium chloride solution (called saline) for pinkeye (conjunctivitis), dry eye syndrome, mouth sores, and sore throat.

People inhale sodium in the form of sodium chloride solution for cystic fibrosis.

In foods, sodium chloride is used to add flavor and preserve food.

How does it work ?

Inhaling sodium chloride helps produce sputum (phlegm, mucus). This makes it easier for patients with cystic fibrosis to breathe. Sodium also helps the body to balance levels of fluid and electrolytes in the body. This balance can affect blood pressure and the health of the kidneys and heart.

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