Hypernatremia induced by maximal exercise

JAMA. 1982 Sep 10;248(10):1209-11.


A short burst of intensive exercise (100-m swim lasting one minute and resulting in a 12-fold rise in the level of blood lactate) resulted in frank hypernatremia (serum sodium level, greater than 150 mEq/L) in 30% to 40% of well-trained athletes. In contrast, less intensive exercise (800-m swim lasting ten minutes and resulting in a sevenfold rise in the level of blood lactate) failed to cause a rise in serum sodium level despite comparable elevations in hematocrit reading and serum protein levels. Hypernatremia induced by intensive exercise cannot be explained by losses in body fluid or solute ingestion, but is probably a consequence of a shift of hypotonic fluid from the extracellular to the intracellular compartment. Thus, the mechanism of exercise-induced hypernatremia may be unique, as compared with other clinically recognized forms of hypernatremia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypernatremia / blood
  • Hypernatremia / etiology*
  • Hypernatremia / physiopathology
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Plasma Volume
  • Sodium / blood*
  • Sports Medicine*
  • Swimming
  • Time Factors


  • Lactates
  • Sodium