Electrolytes are chemicals that are essentially beneficial to our bodily functions. It provides the electric current that charges several automatic body processes. It interacts among themselves and with the cells in the muscles, nerves and tissues. Electrolytes are vital for healthy and normal functioning of the human body. It mainly regulates the function of the nerves and muscles, balances the pressure and acidity of the blood, hydrate the body and aid in restoring damaged tissue.
Sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate are among the electrolytes in our body. The good sources of these electrolytes are vegetables and fruits.
Electrolyte levels which are either too high or too low may lead to an imbalance that is manifested by the following symptoms:
Any of these symptoms may be brought about by the harmful concentration of sodium, magnesium, potassium or calcium. Bone tissues damaged by breast cancer, lung cancer and multiple myeloma results in excessive calcium that may include signs and symptoms of frequent urination, lethargy, nausea, irregular heartbeat, moodiness and irritability, vomiting, fatigue, thirst, extreme muscle weakness, confusion, dry mouth or throat, constipation, coma and total loss of appetite.
– Not replenishing electrolytes or staying hydrated after exercise
– Kidney disease
– Cancer treatment
– Severe dehydration
– Poor diet
– Prolonged periods of vomiting or diarrhea
– Some drugs, such as diuretics
– Age, as the kidneys of older adults become less efficient over time
Electrolyte imbalance are caused by either too low or too high concentrations in the system. To treat it, low levels are restored to normal by supplementing the deficient electrolyte and reducing the excessive concentration of the same. However, severe symptoms may require hospitalization and the person must be monitored during treatment. Electrolyte replacement therapy in severe cases of electrolyte shortage may be administered either orally or through an intravenous (IV) drip. Oral rehydration therapy on the other hand involves taking orally the medicine after it is dissolved in one (1) liter of water.
Electrolyte imbalance may be prevented by exercising a well-managed diet. Doing physical exercise should be accompanied with consumption of moderate amount of sports drinks to hinder the effect of losing electrolytes in the sweat. Replacing lost electrolytes help maintain healthy levels.