Electrolytes are the elements in your body that are responsible for controlling various psychological activities. Electrolytes are present in your blood, fluids, and urine. Examples of electrolytes include calcium, magnesium, phosphate, sodium, and potassium. Electrolytes will also come from the food, and drinks. All these electrolytes should be in a balance for the proper functioning of your body.
The kidneys and liver are responsible for maintaining the balance of electrolytes. When the levels of electrolytes are either high or low, it can lead to electrolyte disorders. Electrolyte disorders indicate problems with the kidneys and endocrine glands. It can also lead to serious health conditions such as seizures, coma, and heart attack.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Electrolyte Disorders
If the electrolyte imbalances are mild, you may not notice any signs and symptoms. They remain unidentified until you undergo a regular blood test. However, your body will respond to the imbalances in different ways based on which electrolyte levels are not in balance, and severity.
If the imbalances become severe, it can start showing signs and symptoms such as the following:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscles weakness and cramps
If electrolyte imbalance is left untreated, it can be life-threatening. If you suspect that you have an electrolyte disorder, visit a doctor immediately.
Causes of Electrolyte Disorders
There are several causes that can lead to electrolyte disorder. You might lose lots of fluids from your body by vomiting, diarrhea, sweating etc for a long time. However, excess water gain can also lead to electrolyte imbalance such as congestive heart failure. Consumption of high amounts of water can also cause electrolyte imbalance.
Other possible causes include:
- Kidney problems
- Lung diseases
- Liver disease
- Recent surgery or trauma
- Use of drugs and alcohol consumption
- Side effects due to the use of certain medications
Apart from this, problems with glands that make hormones or that are responsible for regulating hormones can also cause electrolyte disorder. Some of them include:
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)
- Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
Sometimes, a poor diet can also lead to electrolyte disorders in some people. In some cases, there is no specific cause of electrolyte disorder.
How are Electrolyte Disorders Diagnosed?
Doctors can diagnose electrolyte disorders using a simple blood test. A blood test helps to determine the levels of different electrolytes in your body. However, a blood test cannot help to determine the exact reason for electrolyte imbalance and other tests might be needed. The doctor may also conduct a physical examination or other tests to ensure that you have an electrolyte disorder. He may conduct a reflex test as increased or decreased levels of certain electrolytes can affect your reflexes.
Other imaging tests such as EKG, ECG, may also be used to check your heartbeat. An electrolyte test may also be conducted for some patients to check for electrolyte imbalance.
In some cases, some patients with medical conditions of certain organs are also tested as those conditions might affect their electrolyte levels. Some of them include kidneys, lungs, heartbeat, and endocrine system.
How are Electrolyte Disorders Treated?
The treatment for an electrolyte disorder is based on the type of electrolyte imbalance you have and its cause. The treatment focuses on treating the underlying condition so that the electrolyte imbalance gets fixed. If the doctor suspects that the use of certain medications is causing imbalance, he will ask to switch to different medical solution.
The common treatment used for treating electrolyte disorders include:
- IV fluids are used if dehydration is caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Along with it, electrolyte supplements can also be added.
- IV medications are helpful for regaining the electrolyte balance. The medications prescribed will be based on the type of imbalance you have.
- Oral medications may also be prescribed to treat mineral abnormalities. These medications are given to patients who are diagnosed with kidney disease.
- Hemodialysis is used if the electrolyte imbalance is caused by the sudden damage of your kidneys.
Renown Kidney Clinic – A Team of Qualified and Experienced Nephrologists
If you or your loved one have any signs of electrolyte disorder, you should immediately visit a doctor to seek a proper diagnosis. Renown Kidney Clinic has a team of nephrologists who are specialists in diagnosing and treating various electrolyte disorders in Hyderabad. We have long years of experience dealing with various electrolyte disorders. We are committed to following a holistic approach focusing on producing quick resolutions to your problems. We also aim at offering prompt treatment with the full support of the patient. To know more about us, call us today.