Written By Admin
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
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. Because these crucial nutrients help stimulate nerves throughout the body and balance fluid levels, an electrolyte imbalance can cause a variety of serious negative symptoms, including some that are potentially deadly.
These are the most important functions of electrolytes in the body:
– Sodium – it maintains the balance of fluids in the body, it helps the contractions of the muscles and the signaling of the nerves
– Calcium – it enhances the creation of bone and teeth tissue and its maintenance, it helps with muscle contraction, nerve signaling, cell division, and it prevents blood clots
– Magnesium – it promotes the process of building of bones and makes them stronger, it supports the proper heart rhythm, it improves the digestion, it helps in muscle contraction, it balances the protein fluid, it improves the function of the nerves, and it reduces anxiety.
– Chloride – maintains a fluid balance;
– Potassium– regulates blood pressure, heart contractions, promotes proper function of the muscles;
They are generally found in the body fluids, such as urine, sweat, and blood, and when dissolved in water, due to their electrical charge, separate positively and negatively charged ions.
The nerves signal other nerves via chemical exchanges, which are dependent on oppositely charged ions, inside and outside the cells.
THE CAUSES FOR IMBALANCE OF ELECTROLYTES ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Chemotherapy treatments (they cause side effects of low blood calcium, or calcium deficiency, changes in potassium levels, and other electrolyte deficiencies);
Kidney damage or disease (they play a vital role in regulating chloride in the blood and flushing out potassium, magnesium, and sodium);
Taking antibiotics (medications and diuretics over-the-counter, or even corticosteroid hormones);
Taking some medications (for treating cancer, hormonal disorders, or heart disease);
Endocrine disorders or hormonal imbalance;
Not being able to absorb food nutrients (malabsorption – because of digestive or intestinal problems);
Poor diet (especially low in nutrients from whole foods);
Being sick (including symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or high fevers which cause dehydration and fluid loss).
These are the most common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance:
Muscle aches, spasms, twitches, and weakness;
Fluctuations in weight and appetite;
Joint pain and numbness;
Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations;
Irregular blood pressure;
Dizziness, especially when standing up suddenly;
Cramps, constipation, or diarrhea;
Fatigue (chronic fatigue symptom)
Difficulties concentrating and an overall confusion;
If you commonly experience the symptoms listed above, you should seek medical help and do some tests to estimate the electrolyte levels, as well as blood and urine tests and EKG test to find the cause of such irregularities.
If you need to check for severe deficiencies, you may need to do ultrasounds and X-rays on the kidneys. Electrolyte deficiency is diagnosed if the values are lower or higher than normal, and are measured per liter of blood:
– Calcium: 5-5.5 mEq/L
– Chloride: 97-107 mEq/L
– Potassium: 5-5.3 mEq/L
– Magnesium: 1.5-2.5 mEq/L
– Sodium: 136-145 mEq/L
Confusion, dizziness, and irritability – when the sodium levels are too high, you may become weak and dizzy. If this condition worsens, you can become more delirious, experience a seizure, or coma.
Anxiety and trouble sleeping – Reduced magnesium levels may lead to tiredness, difficulties to fall asleep, night sweats, muscle spasms, and increased heartbeats.
Digestive problems – irregular electrolyte levels, either low or high may lead to various digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, cramps, and hemorrhoids
Heartbeat changes– hyperkalemia develops when the potassium levels rise very high. The condition interferes with the normal signals from nerves and muscles, resulting in weak, tingly, or numb muscles. High potassium impacts the heartbeat, causing you feel anxious, while high calcium levels affect the cardiovascular system and electrical transmission pathways of the heart, causing heartbeat changes.
This condition will also affect the heartbeat, causing anxiety, while high calcium levels influence the cardiovascular system and electrical transmission pathways of the heart, leading to changed heartbeat.
Bone pain – In the case of too high calcium levels, you may suffer from vomiting, bone fractures, painful kidney stones, and constipation, as well as weakness and concentration problems.
Muscle spasms – In the case of dehydration and low magnesium and potassium levels, you will suffer from spasms and muscle weakness.
Treatment of electrolyte imbalance
Drink enough water – The balance of the electrolytes changes with the change of the amount of water in the body, so drink plenty of water to maintain the proper levels.
Adjust the diet– Initially, check how progressed is the imbalance, and then adjust the diet. Start consuming more home-cooked meals, and avoid processed, fried foods.
Furthermore, eat more leafy greens, sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, cabbage, avocados, squash, bananas, and broccoli. Also, make sure you regularly consume coconut water, celery, cucumber, pineapple, watermelon, amasai, citrus fruits, carrots, kefir, yogurt, kiwi, bell peppers, in order to avoid dehydration.
In the case of reduced calcium levels, eat more legumes, leafy greens, high- quality dairy products (raw milk, probiotic yogurt, cultured raw cheese), vegetables, and beans.
Check your medications –The levels of electrolytes in the body may be affected by certain medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, cancer treatments, hormonal pills, and blood pressure medications.
Chemotherapy has the strongest impact. Diuretics and laxatives cause a change in the levels of sodium and potassium in the blood and urine.
Some diuretics maintain the potassium levels very high, while others keep the electrolytes very low, leading to digestive issues, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and fast heartbeats.
Electrolyte imbalances may also be caused by hormonal interactions from anti-diuretic hormone medications, aldosterone and thyroid hormones.
Monitor your sodium intake– check the sodium levels when consuming packaged or processed foods. Sodium retains or releases water, thus if your diet is high in this electrolyte, more water will be excreted by the kidneys, causing complications with balancing other electrolytes. If you monitor the sodium intake you could keep symptoms at bay like bloating, lethargy, dehydration, weakness, irritability, and muscle twitching. You should drink more water, eat whole foods, and obtain other important electrolytes.
Hydrate the body after exercising –After your regular workout, make sure you properly hydrate the body, by drinking lots of water, before, during and after exercising.
Supplements– If you cannot regulate the levels of important nutrients in the body even after making dietary and lifestyle changes, you can consult your doctor and choose proper supplements.