Sodium (Na) is an essential element with extracellular electrolyte functions. However, these functions do not occur in hair. Hair Sodium measurement should be considered a screening test only; blood testing for Sodium and electrolyte levels is much more diagnostic and indicative of status. High hair Sodium may have no clinical significance or it may be the result of an electrolyte imbalance. A possible imbalance for which high hair Sodium is a consistent finding is adrenocortical hyperactivity. In this condition, blood Sodium is elevated while potassium is low. Potassium is elevated (wasted) in the urine. Sodium and potassium levels in hair are commonly high in association with elevated levels of potentially toxic elements. The elevated Sodium and potassium levels are frequently concomitant with low levels of calcium and magnesium in hair. This apparent phenomenon requires further investigation. Appropriate tests for Sodium status as an electrolyte are measurements of Sodium in whole blood and urine, and measurements of adrenocortical function.
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