The human body is composed of up to 60 % water. Adequate fluid and electrolyte levels are essential for healthy functioning of all organs and body systems. Electrolytes are found in the blood, urine, tissues and body fluids. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium play an important role conducting electric charge within the body. These minerals must be maintained in the appropriate ratio for proper functioning of the muscles, nerves, brain and heart. If there is any imbalance in their ratio, which usually occurs due to change in water levels in the body, electrolyte imbalance will occur. The kidneys work as major regulators of the electrolyte balance. Kidney malfunction results in excessive electrolyte retention or excretion resulting in an imbalance.
Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance vary with the electrolyte. Typical symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, dizziness, excessive sweating, cold extremities and trembling. Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and hands might also be due to a fluid and electrolyte imbalance. There might be nausea, reduced urine output, dark urine, dry skin, aching joints and dry mouth. In cases of severe electrolyte imbalance, there might be convulsions and seizures.
Urine test and blood tests are done to evaluate the electrolyte imbalance. Often kidney ultrasound or EKG might be ordered. Based on the electrolyte that is out of balance, treatment includes dietary changes, fluid intake restrictions and medications to correct the imbalance. Often medication like corticosteroids, laxatives, cough medicines, diuretics and oral contraceptives can cause changes in the electrolyte balance.
Hyponatremia: Imbalance in sodium concentration in the plasma.
Hypokalemiaa: Deficiency of potassium in the bloodstream.
Hypercalcemia: Elevated calcium level in the blood.
BMP blood test
BMP blood test or Basic Metabolic Panel blood test comprises a set of tests that throw light on the functioning of a person's kidneys, blood sugar, calcium, electrolyte and acid/base levels. BMP blood test comprises testing for:
Glucose: Metabolic disorders of carbohydrates, incidences of Pancreatitis, renal impairment in association with diabetes mellitus of adult and juvenile origins.
Calcium: Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, tetanus, bone disorders, chronic renal failure.
Sodium: Central nervous system disorders, dehydration, gastrointestinal fluid loss, skin complications, hyperaldosteronism, polydipsia, burns.
Potassium: Hyperparathyroidism, conditions associated with glomerulus and renal tubules, diabetic ketoacidosis and metabolic alkalosis.
CO2 (carbon dioxide, bicarbonate): Renal metabolic disorders, primary respiratory and metabolic alkalosis.
Chloride: Diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, burns, renal diseases.
BMP blood test aids in diagnosis of kidney failure, diabetic coma, hypertension, changes in heart rhythms and respiratory illness. Basic metabolic panel elucidates the blood biochemistry values in association with the underlying medical conditions. The patient is advised to fast 12 hours before the test. In some conditions a random analysis is also followed. Other tests that are used by physicians to check for renal failure are BUN blood test and test for creatinine. If there is elevated blood calcium level, it can be confirmed with an ionized calcium test. Electrolyte imbalance can occur due to many an illness.
Potassium, classified as an electrolyte helps muscles and nervous systems to function normally. Potassium plays a key role in regulating acid-alkaline balance as well as electrical activity of the heart. Mild potassium deficiency or hypokalemia can result in high blood pressure. Dietary sources of potassium include broccoli, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, bananas, dried fruits, legumes and peas and lima beans.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 21, 2019