Minerals are highly needed for the organism as well as like the vitamins.
Magnesium maintains the blood pressure normal, keeps the bones strong, and the heart rhythm steady.
Potassium is needed for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work properly.
Calcium is a vital nutrient for the teeth and bones. Likewise, the nerves, the heart, and blood-clotting systems require calcium for their adequate work.
On the other hand, electrolytes are nutrients (or chemicals) found in the body that take plenty crucial functions, including the regulation of the heartbeat allowing your muscles to contract so you can move. The key electrolytes present in the body are magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphate and chloride.
The Major Functions of Electrolytes in the Body
It is highly valuable electrolyte and a vital ion present in the extracellular fluid (ECF). It is beneficial due to its pivotal role as it plays in enzyme operations and muscle contraction. Likewise, it is extremely needed for osmoregulation and fluid maintenance within the human body.
The benefits of this mineral can include decreased symptoms from conditions like chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia. This essential mineral can offer protection from various chronic diseases, especially those linked to stress and aging.
Potassium is also very important as it includes relief from stroke, heart and kidney disorders, blood pressure, stress and anxiety. In addition to this, it provides enhanced electrolytic functions, metabolism, muscle strength, water balance, and nervous system.
This mineral needs the body to build and properly maintain strong bones. However, its benefits do not stop here as it is needed for the muscles, heart, and as well as for the nerves to function accordingly. According to certain studies calcium together with vitamin D can be valuable nutrient in the protection against diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Electrolyte imbalance can affect your body, but it is based on which of the electrolyte levels are being affected. If you experience weakness, muscle spasm, twitching, or convulsions, then it may indicate altered levels of potassium, magnesium, sodium, or calcium.
The electrolytes are being obtained via the consumption of various foods and drinking certain fluids. You are losing them partially through sweating, exercise, going to the bathroom and urinating. The possible reasons for the occurrence of electrolyte imbalance are poor diet, too little or too much exercise, and being sick.
6 Common Signs of an Electrolyte Imbalance
- Not regular heartbeat
- Abdominal cramping
- Bowel irregularities like diarrhea and constipation
- Dark urine (a symptom of dehydration)
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
Irregular heartbeat should not be a concern provided that it does not cause any other symptoms, like shortness of breath, dizziness, and lightheadedness. You need to know that it is a common thing for children to have extra heartbeats, especially if it is a healthy child.
Heartburn/GERD, IBD, and IBS are common digestive issues that can occur. Plus symptoms of electrolyte imbalance can be gas, stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and stomach cramps. They can be treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
This pain is manifested by extreme tenderness, aching, or other discomfort in one or more bones. This pain is not like the muscle and joint pain as it exists no matter if you are moving or not. The pain is related to diseases that affect the normal function or structure of the bone.
Confusion, irritability, and dizziness
Confusion will make you feel disoriented, not being able to think clearly, and experiencing a hard time of focusing or making decisions.
Anxiety and problem sleeping
For some people experiencing a restless night is a normal thing. Many problems can cause problems with sleeping, but most common are stress or anxiety. The clinical term for people experiencing problems with night sleep is insomnia. This issue involves difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early in the morning, or waking up feeling still tired.
Spasms of skeletal muscles results from its overuse, dehydration, and electrolyte abnormalities. These spasms appear suddenly and are very painful usually short-lived. However, they can be relieved by gently stretching the muscle.
The Normal Values of Electrolytes
- Calcium: 5– 5.5 mEq/l
- Magnesium: 1.5– 2.5 mEq/l
- Potassium: 5– 5.3 mEq/l
- Chloride: 97– 107 mEq/l
- Salt: 136– 145 mEq/l
The Treatment of Electrolyte Imbalance
You need to know that after exercising, you should first cool down your body before drinking water. In this way you will reduce the loss of water and raise electrolyte absorption. You can introduce mineral supplements if you are not getting enough amounts of minerals from your diet. They can be taken orally or intravenously if severely depleted.
- Introduce a well-balanced diet
This type of diet includes a wide range of fruits and vegetables that can help in the prevention against electrolyte imbalance. Tomatoes and bananas offer the most replenishing balance of electrolytes, and also water-laden fruit like apples, watermelons, and pineapples.
- Watch out on the medications you take
If you are dealing with a kidney disease some medicines may cause electrolyte imbalance. You need to find out the underlying cause of electrolyte disorder and then correct it.
If the electrolyte disturbance is a result of kidney issues, then your physician may want to perform an ultrasound or x-ray your kidneys.
Corticosteroids medications include cortisone acetate and hydrocortisone and might cause electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalance from use of corticosteroid medications can cause convulsions, twitching or muscle spasms.
- Diet changes can correct a minor electrolyte imbalance. For instance, low potassium levels can be corrected by taking a diet high in potassium, or if you are dealing with low blood sodium level restrict the water intake.
What the treatment would be like depends on the degree of sodium deficiency and its cause. In cases of mild hyponatremia, an increased intake of dietary sodium can be used.
Patients with both hyponatremic and hypovolemic may receive IV fluid replacement using solutions that have in their content normal saline.
No matter of the cause, patients with hypernatremia may appear lethargic, thirsty, and tachycardic. Their cells become more dehydrated, and as a result of that patients may develop weakness, disorientation, irritability, and muscle twitching.