The electrolytes have high importance for our body as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and phosphate. They help in stimulating the nerves through the body, balancing fluid levels. If there is an imbalance of the electrolytes, then it may lead to different health conditions, while some potentially deadly.
Major roles of electrolytes:
Calcium – it helps with contraction of muscles, maintaining and forming bones and teeth, blood clotting, nerve signaling, and cell division;
Chloride – maintains balance of fluids;
Magnesium – helping for muscle contraction, proper heart rhythm, bone strength and building, nerve functioning, reducing anxiety, digestion, and keeping a stable balance of the protein fluid.
Sodium – helps with muscle contractions , maintains fluid balance, helps with nerve signaling ;
Potassium – regulates heart contractions, blood pressure, help with the function of muscles;
How the electrolytes actually work and what causes the imbalance?
Electrolytes can be found in all body fluids like sweat, blood, and urine. They have an electric charge, separating positively and negatively charged ions when dissolved in water. The nerves signal other nerves through chemical exchanges dependent on oppositely charged ions, inside and outside the cells.
The causes for imbalance of electrolytes are the following:
- Chemotherapy treatments ( changes in potassium levels, they cause side effects of low blood calcium, or calcium deficiency,and other electrolyte deficiencies);
- Kidney damage or disease (they play a vital role in regulating chloride in the blood and flushing out magnesium, potassium, and sodium);
- Not being able to absorb food nutrients (malabsorption – because of digestive or intestinal problems);
- Poor diet (low in nutrients from whole foods);
- Being sick (including symptoms like diarrhea, sweating, vomiting, or high fevers which cause dehydration and fluid loss).
- Taking antibiotics (diuretics and medications over-the-counter, or even corticosteroid hormones);
- Taking some medications (for treating cancer, heart disease , hormonal disorders, );
- Endocrine disorders or hormonal imbalance;
What are the signs and symptoms of electrolyte imbalance?
- Feeling thirsty;
- Changes in appetite and body weight ;
- Changes in blood pressure;
- Pain in joints;
- Disorder in bones;
- Trouble concentrating and confusion;
- Cramps, diarrhea , constipation, ;
- Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations;
- Frequent headaches;
- Muscle aches, spasms, twitches, and weakness;
- Dizziness, when standing up suddenly;
- Pain in numbness and joints ;
- Fatigue (including chronic fatigue symptom).
Your doctor should perform a couple of different tests in order to determine the levels of electrolyte. Your medical history will be discussed, and you will have to provide urine and blood samples to identify any abnormalities. EKG tests are sometimes necessary, as well as ultrasound and X-rays of kidneys to check on severe imbalances of electrolytes. Any noticeable changes in optimal electrolyte levels will be looked at by your doctor. Their levels are being measured per liter of blood, and the imbalance is being diagnosed when the values are higher or lower than the normal ranges.
Calcium: 5-5.5 mEq/L
Sodium: 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride: 97-107 mEq/L
Potassium: 5-5.3 mEq/L
Magnesium: 1.5-2.5 mEq/L
Common signs of experiencing electrolyte imbalance
Heartbeat changes –when the potassium levels rise very high develops hyperkalemia . The condition interferes with the normal signals from nerves and muscles, resulting in tingly, numb , weak, 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.
Anxiety and trouble sleeping – when having night sweats, muscle spasms, or fast heartbeat it is very hard to fall asleep. Low magnesium levels make you feel tired, while high potassium can cause trouble getting rest due to ongoing mental disturbances and pains .
Confusion, dizziness, and irritability – when the sodium levels are too high, you may become dizzy and weak . If this condition worsens, you can become more delirious, experience a seizure, or coma.
Bone pain – very high calcium levels may result in bone fractures, vomiting , constipation, painful kidney stones, . This will make you tired, weak, and you will have troubles concentrating.
Digestive issues – high or low levels of electrolytes can cause constipation, cramping, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. Low sodium levels can cause nausea, followed by disorientation, headaches, and respiratory issues when left unresolved.
Muscle spasms – when the body is dehydrated, potassium and magnesium levels fall, causing muscle weakness, and spasms. Low potassium levels can cause cramps and constipation, while low calcium levels cause cramps, abdominal muscle pain, muscle spasms, and convulsions.
Ways to solve electrolyte imbalance
Adjust your diet – first you need to identify how developed is the electrolyte imbalance. Poor diet high in processed food with lots of sodium, however, if the diet is low in magnesium and potassium, it can lead to dangerous imbalance. Dietary changes can improve the imbalance through cooking fresh foods at home, and cutting on junk foods, takeout, and restaurant foods. You should consume more leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash, bananas, and avocados. You may also turn to coconut water, yogurt, carrots, citrus fruits, bell peppers, cucumber, watermelon, celery, pineapple, amasai, kefir, and kiwi to prevent dehydration.
You can obtain calcium through high quality dairy products (probiotic yogurt, cultured raw cheese, raw milk), and through leafy greens, vegetables, beans, and legumes.
Drink enough water – when the amount of water in your body changes, electrolyte imbalance changes. This can cause dehydration, thus if you drink water without over-diluting your cells will stop the levels of potassium and sodium raise very high, or too low. It depends on diet, physical activity level, your age, and body size in order to determine how much water should be consumed. The recommended dose for every person is to drink water enough so that they can urinate each 3-4 hours, which makes it 10 glasses per day. If you have been sick, women who are pregnant, have exercise vigorously, or breast-feeding, as well as teens that grow and develop faster, need to consume more water than the recommended dose. Over-hydration is rare, but yes, it’s possible. Your kidneys are unable to excrete very high levels of excess water, so this can mean electrolytes within the blood can become diluted. The result might be low sodium levels, which is more common among endurance athletes.
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 weakness, irritability, bloating, lethargy, dehydration, and muscle twitching. You should drink more water, eat whole foods, and obtain other important electrolytes.
Check your medications – electrolyte levels can be impacted by antibiotics, blood pressure medications, diuretics, hormonal pills, and cancer treatments. Cancer patients who receive chemotherapy have the most serious imbalance.Diuretics and laxatives change potassium and sodium levels in the blood and urine. There are certain diuretics which can cause potassium levels stay very high, while other electrolytes very low, resulting in anxiety, fast heartbeats, digestive issues, and trouble sleeping. Hormonal interactions from anti-diuretic hormone medications, aldosterone and thyroid hormones can develop electrolyte imbalances, too.
Refuel after exercising – drink enough water before, during, and after exercising so that you keep your body hydrated. If you are training for a longer period of time, then you should replenish your electrolyte stores as some of them may be lost through sweat.
Consider supplementing – genetic factors, high stress levels, and some medical conditions can lead to chronical deficiency in some electrolytes, taking magnesium supplements can help replenish the stores and prevent magnesium deficiency. Magnesium and potassium are present in multivitamins.
source : positivevibesweb.com