I am a married empty nester. My parents are in their mid-80’s, living in a nearby retirement home. A few weeks ago, I received an agitated, early morning, call from my father that my mother was in agony, shaking and very confused. I rushed over to their apartment to find my mom shaking so hard that she couldn’t hold a drinking glass and complaining that she needed to urinate every ten minutes. We rushed her to the emergency room, where, after several tests, they found her sodium level to be dangerously low – almost at convulsion level. It took 9 days of hospitalization to bring it up to low normal levels, with rises and dips almost every day along the way. The cause could have been one of several things: her new anti-depressant is venlafaxine, which in rare cases can cause sodium loss; she and my father are careful to eat salt-free or low-salt foods as they have read many articles on the bad effects of salt on the elderly. My mom consumes very little salt; she is not much of a liquid drinker and dehydration could have played a role (coffee is not a hydrater!). I share this because I was told that dangerously low sodium (hyponatremia) can be fatal if not caught. Watch for headaches, confusion, weakness and/or tiredness. Your input?