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BODY FLUIDS AND ELECTROLYTES….

Body Fluids And Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that are important for the cells in the body to function and allow the body to work.
Electrolytes are present in the human body, and the balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs. Common electrolytes that are measured by doctors with blood testing include sodium, potassium & chloride
What are electrolytes?
Chemically, electrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. Electrolytes are present in the human body, and the balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs.
Sodium
Sodium is the major positive ion (cation) in fluid outside of cells. The chemical notation for sodium is Na+. When combined with chloride, the resulting substance is table salt. Excess sodium (such as that obtained from dietary sources) is excreted in the urine. Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals. Therefore, too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels (too much or too little) can be fatal.
> Increased sodium (hypernatremia) in the blood occurs whenever there is excess sodium in relation to water. There are numerous causes of hypernatremia; these may include kidney disease, too little water intake, and loss of water due to diarrhea and/or vomiting.
> A decreased concentration of sodium (hyponatremia) occurs whenever there is a relative increase in the amount of body water relative to sodium. This happens with some diseases of the liver and kidney, in patients with congestive heart failure, in burn victims, and in numerous other conditions.
A Normal blood sodium level is 135 – 145 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 135 – 145 millimoles/liter (mmol/L).
Potassium
Potassium is the major positive ion (cation) found inside of cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+. The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body are regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles. A seriously abnormal increase in potassium (hyperkalemia) or decrease in potassium (hypokalemia) can profoundly affect the nervous system and increases the chance of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), which, when extreme, can be fatal.
> Increased potassium is known as hyperkalemia. Potassium is normally excreted by the kidneys, so disorders that decrease the function of the kidneys can result in hyperkalemia. Certain medications may also predispose an individual to hyperkalemia.
> Hypokalemia, or decreased potassium, can arise due to kidney diseases; excessive loss due to heavy sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, eating disorders, certain medications, or other causes.
The normal blood potassium level is 3.5 – 5.0 milliEquivalents/liter (mEq/L), or in international units, 3.5 – 5.0 millimoles/liter (mmol/L).
Chloride
Chloride is the major anion (negatively charged ion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. An anion is the negatively charged part of certain substances such as table salt (sodium chloride or NaCl) when dissolved in liquid. Sea water has almost the same concentration of chloride ion as human Body Fluids And Electrolytes. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.
The balance of chloride ion (Cl-) is closely regulated by the body. Significant increases or decreases in chloride can have deleterious or even fatal consequences:
> Increased chloride (hyperchloremia): Elevations in chloride may be seen in diarrhea, certain kidney diseases, and sometimes in overactivity of the parathyroid glands.
> Decreased chloride (hypochloremia): Chloride is normally lost in the urine, sweat, and stomach secretions. Excessive loss can occur from heavy sweating, vomiting, and adrenal gland and kidney disease.
The normal serum range for chloride is 98 – 108 mmol/L.
Electrolyte levels are affected by how much is taken in through the diet, the amount of water in a person’s body, and the amount of electrolytes excreted by their kidneys. They are also affected by compounds such as aldosterone, a hormone that conserves sodium and increases the loss of potassium, and natriuretic peptides, which increase renal losses of sodium.
In specific disorders, one or more electrolytes may be in an abnormal concentration. A doctor will look at the overall balance but is especially concerned with a person’s sodium and potassium levels. People whose kidneys are not functioning properly, for example, may retain excess fluid in the body, diluting the sodium and chloride so that they fall below normal concentrations. Those who experience severe fluid loss may show an increase in potassium, sodium, and chloride. Some forms of heart disease, muscle and nerve problems, and diabetes may also have one or more abnormal electrolytes.
Knowing which electrolytes are out of balance can help a doctor to determine the cause and treatment to restore proper balance. If left untreated, electrolyte imbalance can lead to dizziness, cramps, irregular heartbeat, and possibly death.
To Know your Electrolytes level, fix an appointment with Tarun Clinical Lab at www.tarunclinicallab.com

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