Electrolyte disorders

Electrolyte disorders

Overview

An electrolyte disorder occurs when the levels of various minerals in the body are out of balance. These electrolytes are maintained at certain levels for optimal bodily functions. Severe electrolyte imbalances can cause cardiac arrest, coma or seizures.

Signs and symptoms

Patients with electrolyte disorder may experience irregular heartbeat, fatigue, racing heart rate, nausea, muscle cramping, confusion, headache and numbness. Mild cases of electrolyte imbalance may only experience a few of these symptoms.

Causes and Risk Factors

An electrolyte disorder is caused if a person is dehydrated or has too much water in their body. Vomiting, diarrhoea, not drinking enough fluids, excessive sweating, eating disorders, alcoholism, cancer treatments and congestive heart failure may cause an electrolyte disorder. The condition can occur in patients of all ages and genders.

Complications

Electrolyte disorder can lead to low blood pressure, tachycardia or rapid heartbeat and loss of consciousness. Some patients may also experience serious cognitive impairment or hallucinations.

Diagnosis

A simple blood test can measure electrolyte levels in the blood and give the doctors information about the nature of the imbalance. The doctor may check for dehydration by performing the “pinch test” and checking if the skin stays pinched. The doctor may also check the patient’s neural reflexes and perform an ECG.

Treatment

Mild electrolyte disorders may be treated with oral fluids and supplements. Severe electrolyte disorders are treated in hospital with intravenous fluids and medication.

Prevention

To prevent an electrolyte disorder, stay hydrated, especially if you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea or excessive sweating.

We are with you in your journey to better health

A consultation with our panel of doctors, specialists and surgeons will help you determine what kind of services you may need to help diagnose and treat your condition. If you or someone in your family or friend’s circle are facing any health issues, please get in touch with us, we are here for you.

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