Electrolytes are essential for our survival and well-being. When dissolved in water, they are capable of producing a conducting solution. The most important electrolytes in our body are potassium, calcium, sodium, bicarbonate, magnesium, hydrogen phosphate, and chloride.
Potassium – Regulates heart and muscle contractions, and blood pressure;
Calcium – Aids nerve signaling, blood clotting and formation, cell division, muscle contractions, and keeps your bones and teeth strong;
Sodium – Helps muscles contract, aids nerve signaling, and maintains the fluid balance in the body;
Magnesium – Improves digestions, maintains the balance of protein, reduces anxiety, and aids muscle contractions, bone strength, heart rhythm, and nerve function;
Chloride – Maintains the balance of fluids.
As blood, sweat, and urine are present in our bodily fluids, so are the electrolytes. When electrolytes are dissolved in water, they have the ability to separate negative and positive ions, and nerves give a signal by a series of chemical reactions to other nerves in the body, dependent on the oppositely charged ions.
Factors which cause electrolyte imbalance:
- Endocrine disorders
- Kidney damage or disease
- Unhealthy diet
- Being sick
- Malabsorption caused by intestinal or digestive problems
- Some medications (cancer, heart disease, and hormonal drugs)
- Hormonal imbalance
- Antibiotics (over-the-counter drugs, diuretics, corticosteroid hormones).
Insomnia, restlessness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, irregular blood pressure and heartbeat, and nausea are the main symptoms of this condition. If you notice some of these symptoms, you need immediately to go to your doctor and make tests for measuring the electrolyte levels.
Sometimes, in order to find the root of the problem, blood and urine tests are necessary. Ultrasound and X-rays can determine severe electrolyte deficiencies.
The deficiency is diagnosed when the results are higher or lower than the following values:
- Potassium: 5-5.3 mEq/L
- Sodium: 136-145 mEq/L
- Calcium: 5-5.5 mEq/L
- Magnesium: 1.5-2.5 mEq/L
- Chloride: 97-107 mEq/L
Treatment of electrolyte imbalance
Drink more water
The amount of water in your body can be the cause for electrolyte imbalance. To keep their levels stable, you need to drink the recommended amount of 6-8 glasses on a daily basis.
Adjust your diet
Avoid processed and fried food, and try to consume home-cooked meals. It is very important your diet to consists of cruciferous and leafy green vegetables, raw fruit, cucumber, pineapple, watermelon, carrots, citrus fruits, celery, and coconut water.
Check your meds
Certain medications including cancer drugs, antibiotics, hormone pills, and diuretics can cause electrolyte imbalance. Chemotherapy has the highest influence on electrolyte levels. Some diuretics can keep the potassium levels high in your body, while other can lower them, thus causing irregular heartbeat and anxiety. Laxatives and diuretics change the sodium and potassium levels in the body.
Monitor your sodium intake
Processed and pre-packaged foods are rich in added sodium, so make sure to always check its labels. Sodium is responsible for controlling the water retention and release from the body. The high amounts of sodium can lead to kidney damage and disease. You will prevent muscle twitches and cramps, dehydration and bloating by maintaining stable sodium levels.
Hydrate yourself after exercise
To maintain your electrolyte levels stables, make sure to hydrate your body before, during, and after working out.
Consider taking supplements
If these treatments can’t help you to regulate your electrolyte levels, you should take some mineral supplements.
Source: Healthy Food House