Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances

Posted by e-Medical PPT Thursday, April 21, 2011
Electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within the body. They help to regulate myocardial and neurological function, fluid balance, oxygen delivery, acid-base balance and much more. Electrolyte imbalances can develop by the following mechanisms: excessive ingestion; diminished elimination of an electrolyte; diminished ingestion or excessive elimination of an electrolyte. The most common cause of electrolyte disturbances is renal failure.
The most serious electrolyte disturbances involve abnormalities in the levels of sodium, potassium, and/or calcium.Chronic laxative abuse or severe diarrhea or vomiting can lead to electrolyte disturbances along with dehydration.
Electrolytes are important because they are what cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. Kidneys work to keep the electrolyte concentrations in blood constant despite changes in your body. For example, during heavy exercise, electrolytes are lost in sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of the body fluids constant.

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