Magnesium is a mineral that’s crucial to the body’s function. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
Potassium is a mineral that’s crucial for life. Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally.
Calcium is a mineral that is an essential part of bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to work.
Electrolytes are certain nutrients (or chemicals) present in your body that have many important functions – from regulating your heartbeat to allowing your muscles to contract so you can move. The major electrolytes found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride.
These are the most important functions of electrolytes in the body:
- Sodium – Sodium is an extremely important electrolyte and an essential ion present in the extracellular fluid (ECF). One of the health benefits of sodium is the pivotal role it plays in enzyme operations and muscle contraction. It is very important for osmoregulation and fluid maintenance within the human body.
- Calcium – The benefits of calcium. Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles and nerves also need calcium to function properly. Some studies suggest that calcium, along with vitamin D, may have benefits beyond bone health: perhaps protecting against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Magnesium – Magnesium’s benefits can include reduced symptoms from conditions such as chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia. Magnesium may also provide protection from a number of chronic diseases, especially those associated with aging and stress.
- Potassium – The health benefits of potassium include relief from stroke, blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhanced muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and nervous system.
The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are based on which of the electrolytelevels are affected. If your blood test results indicate an altered potassium, magnesium, sodium, or calcium levels, you may experience muscle spasm, weakness, twitching, or convulsions.
Common symptoms of an electrolyte disorder include:
- dark urine (a sign of dehydration)
- irregular heartbeat.
- convulsions or seizures.
- nausea and/or vomiting.
- bowel irregularities (including diarrhea and constipation)
- abdominal cramping.
You obtain electrolytes through eating different foods and drinking certain fluids, while you lose them partially through exercise, sweating, going to the bathroom and urinating. This is why a poor diet, too little or too much exercise, and being sick are some possible causes for an electrolyte imbalance.
Here are the normal values:
- Magnesium: 1.5– 2.5 mEq/l
- Calcium: 5– 5.5 mEq/l
- Salt: 136– 145 mEq/l
- Chloride: 97– 107 mEq/l.
- Potassium: 5– 5.3 mEq/l.
Anxiety and problem sleeping
But for some, a restless night is routine. Stress or anxiety can cause a serious night without sleep, as do a variety of other problems. Insomnia is the clinical term for people who have trouble falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking too early in the morning, or waking up feeling unrefreshed.
Confusion, irritability, and dizziness
Confusion is a symptom that makes you feel as if you can’t think clearly. You might feel disoriented and have a hard time focusing or making decisions.
A heartbeat that is occasionally irregular usually is not a concern if it does not cause other symptoms, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath. It is not uncommon for children to have extra heartbeats. In healthy children, an extra heartbeat is not a cause for concern.
Bone pain is extreme tenderness, aching, or other discomfort in one or more bones. It differs from muscle and joint pain because it’s present whether you’re moving or not. The pain is commonly linked to diseases that affect the normal function or structure of the bone.
Spasms of skeletal muscles are most common and are often due to overuse, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities. The spasm occurs abruptly, is painful, and is usually short-lived. It may be relieved by gently stretching the muscle.
Common digestive problems include heartburn/GERD, IBD, and IBS. Symptoms may include bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps. Treatment includes a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
How to treat electrolyte imbalance:
- Change your diet – A well-balanced diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables can help prevent electrolyte imbalance. The most replenishing balance of electrolytes include tomatoes and bananas, although water-laden fruit, such as watermelons, apples and pineapples, are also beneficial in maintaining electrolytes.
- Consume enough water – After exercising, it is important to cool your body down before drinking water. This decreases water loss and increases electrolyte absorption. Supplements can be used if you have difficulty getting sufficient minerals from your diet.
- Mineral supplements may be given by mouth or intravenously if depleted.
- Keep an eye on the medications you take–Some medicines may cause electrolyte disturbances in people with kidney disease – seek to identify the underlying cause of electrolyte disturbance and correct it.
- Corticosteroids that may cause electrolyte imbalance include cortisone acetate and hydrocortisone. Electrolyte imbalance from use of corticosteroid medications can cause convulsions, twitching or muscle spasms.
- If you have an electrolyte imbalance due to kidney problems, your healthcare provider may want to do an ultrasound or x-ray of your kidneys.
- A Minor electrolyte imbalance may be corrected by diet changes. For example; eating a diet rich in potassium if you have low potassium levels, or restricting your water intake if you have a low blood sodium level.
- Treatment depends upon both the degree of sodium deficiency and the cause. In cases of mild hyponatremia, an increased intake of dietary sodium may be ordered, while patients who are both hyponatremic and hypovolemic may receive IV fluid replacement using solutions containing normal saline.
- Regardless of the cause, patients with hypernatremia may appear thirsty, tachycardic, and lethargic. As their cells become more dehydrated, patients may develop disorientation, weakness, irritability, and muscle twitching.
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