ELECTROLYTES – INTRODUCTION
Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. Sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphate are examples of electrolytes, informally known as lytes. Electrolyte replacement is needed when a patient has prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, and as a response to strenuous athletic activity. Commercial electrolyte solutions are available, particularly for sick children (solutions such as Pedialyte) and athletes (sports drinks, such as Gatorade). Electrolyte monitoring is important in treatment of anorexia and bulimia.
ELECTROLYTES – INDICATION
This product is used to replace fluids and minerals (such as sodium, potassium) lost due to diarrhea and vomiting. It helps prevent or treat the loss of too much body water (dehydration). Having the right amount of fluids and minerals is important for the normal functioning of the body.
ELECTROLYTES – INFORMATION
Electrolytes regulate our nerve and muscle function, our body’s hydration, blood pH, blood pressure, and the rebuilding of damaged tissue. Various mechanisms exist in our body that keep the concentrations of different electrolytes under strict control.
Cornucopia of fruit and vegetables wedding banquet (cropped)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in electrolytes.
Our muscles and neurons are seen as electric tissues of the body. They are activated by electrolyte activity between extracellular fluid or interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid (fluid inside, outside or between cells).
A muscle contraction needs calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+) and potassium (K+) to be present. Wrong electrolyte levels can lead to either weak muscles, or muscles that contract too severely.
Our heart, muscle and nerve cells use electrolytes to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses across themselves to other cells.
The level of an electrolyte in the blood can become too high or too low. Body electrolyte levels tend to alter when water levels in the body change – when our level of hydration go up or down.
Mild nausea and vomiting may occur. These effects can be decreased by taking this product slowly in small amounts with a spoon. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: dizziness, unusual weakness, swelling of ankles/feet, mental/mood changes (such as irritability, restlessness), seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this product is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Signs and symptoms An electrolyte imbalance can be manifested in several ways. The symptoms will depend on which electrolyte is out of balance, and whether that level is too high or low. An altered level of magnesium, sodium, potassium, or calcium may produce one or more of the following symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Bone disorders
- Blood pressure changes
- Nervous system disorders
- Fatigue, lethargy
- Muscle spasm.
Hypercalcemia is a common disorder among cancer patients, especially those with breast cancer, lung cancer and multiple myeloma. It often results from the destruction of bone due to bone metastases.
Signs and symptoms may include: frequent urination, irregular heart beat, lethargy, fatigue, moodiness and irritability, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, extreme muscle weakness, being very thirsty, dry mouth or throat, total loss of appetite, coma, confusion, and constipation.
As these symptoms may also be the result of the cancer itself or cancer treatment, it is sometimes difficult for hypercalcemia to be identified straight away.