Age and gender as risk factors for hyponatremia and hypernatremia

Clin Chim Acta. 2003 Nov;337(1-2):169-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cccn.2003.08.001.


Background: This study assesses gender and age as independent risk factors for hypo- and hypernatremia and describes the prevalence of hypo- and hypernatremia in different population groups.

Methods: Details of all serum Na results with accompanying patient demographics for 2 years were downloaded from the laboratory database into Microsoft Access for multiple logistic regression analysis using SPSS. Female gender and age <30 years were the reference groups.

Results: Data from 303577 samples on 120137 patients were available for analysis. Prevalence at initial presentation to a health care provider of Na<136, <116, >145, and >165 mmol/l were for acute hospital care patients: 28.2%, 0.49%, 1.43%, and 0.06%; ambulatory hospital care: 21%, 0.17%, 0.53%, and 0.01%; community care: 7.2%, 0.03%, 0.72%, and <0.01%. Age odds ratios rose with increasing age to 1.89 and 8.70 (Na<136 and <116 mmol/l) and 7.09 and 24.39 (Na>145 and >165 mmol/l, respectively) for age >81 years. Male gender was a mild risk factor for Na<136 mmol/l and was otherwise unimportant.

Conclusions: Hyponatremia is a common but generally mild condition while hypernatremia is uncommon. Increasing age is a strong independent risk factor for both hypo- and hypernatremia. Gender is not an important risk factor for disturbances of serum Na concentration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypernatremia / epidemiology*
  • Hyponatremia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Sodium / blood


  • Sodium