Saliva Hypernatrium

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Definition:

Saliva Hypernatrium is a term developed by La Trobe University Palliative Care Unit Researchers (Dr. Lindsay Carey [Senior Research Fellow], Dr. Christa Carey-Sargeant [Speech Pathologist] and Lillian Krikheli [Speech Pathologist]) in Melbourne Australia (01 August 2019), to describe a seemingly rare medical condition of having excessive sodium within human saliva, that is not caused by another known condition (e.g., Sjogren syndrome, dehydration, hypersalivation, bacteria, nutritional deficiency, dry mouth, oral infection/oral bleeding, acid or bile reflux).

Contents
Definition: Saliva Hypernatrium
Description: Saliva Hypernatrium
Case Study: Saliva Hypernatrium
Research: Saliva Hypernatrium


Description:

Saliva, which is predominantly water (99%), is usually a slightly alkaline secretion including mucin, protein, salts, and often a starch-splitting enzyme such as ptyalin that is secreted into the mouth by salivary glands to aid with tasks such as lubrication, mastication, oral health and digestion of food. Hypernatrium derives from the Greek word ‘hyper’ meaning ‘excessive’, and ‘natrium’, an early Latin word for sodium or salt which is allocated the compound element abbreviation of ‘Na’ (Natrium). Saliva hypernatrium occurs when excessive sodium is detected or tasted within saliva, at times overpowering all other taste sensations. A preliminary search of the literature indicates that this condition is rare.

Case Study Example:

A 55-year-old male (“Frank”) began, for no apparent reason, having an increased salty taste in his mouth which has persisted for approximately 12 months. The excessive sodium in his saliva is present in his mouth all day, every day, some days the taste is stronger than others and often outweighs all other taste sensations (e.g., “… a sweet lolly actually tastes salty”). He was initially treated with Nexium by his GP for gastroesophageal reflux. There was however no change in the salty taste of his saliva. He was subsequently tested for the bacterium helicobacter pylori and Sjogren syndrome but the results were negative. All blood tests also returned normal results. To date autoimmune specialists cannot determine the cause.

Research:

Exploratory Research into Saliva Hypernatrium is currently being conducted by the La Trobe University Palliative Care Unit. Further details regarding this rare condition will be provided as the findings progress. Contact Details: Dr. Lindsay Carey, Palliative Care Unit, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, Victoria Australia. 3086: Email: Lindsay.Carey@latrobe.edu.au