Symptoms and Signs of Electrolytes

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Electrolytes

Electrolytes are small chemicals that are used in critical cellular processes to allow cells to maintain their stability to generate energy and to augment the function of many cellular metabolites. Five major electrolytes are presented; when they are abnormal or out of balance, they can produce symptoms and signs as follows:

There are many causes of electrolyte imbalances – this is due to constant fluctuation of fluids in the body. It is also influenced by exercise, hot weather, illnesses that include vomiting and diarrhea. Failure to hydrate your body adequately with fluids that contain electrolytes may contribute to electrolyte balances. Diet may play a role; for example, adding too much salt (Na) to foods. In addition, there are both medical and medication - related causes of electrolyte imbalances.

Medical causes of electrolyte imbalances include the following:

Medication – related causes of electrolyte imbalances may include the following:

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.