Why Does My Body Need Electrolytes?

Why Does My Body Need Electrolytes?

For most of us, the only time we hear about electrolytes is when we’re listening to an ad for sports drinks. That’s kind of deceptive, because we all have natural electrolytes, and for most of us, our body is designed to balance them without any outside help, aside from a good, balanced diet.

If you aren’t sure what electrolytes are, you’ve likely heard of many of them. Here are some well-known ones:

We get these from our diets. But some people still wind up with an imbalance of electrolytes, often caused by underlying medical issues.

Our providers at Houston Kidney Specialists Center have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating electrolyte disorders at our practices in Houston and Cypress, Texas. Here’s what they want you to know about electrolyte disorders and the symptoms they can cause.

Electrolyte basics

Electrolytes are capable of carrying and transmitting electrical changes inside your body. They play important roles in several key functions, including:

Most of your electrolytes are found in your blood, urine, tissues, and sweat. Many sports drinks are designed to replace electrolytes lost when you perspire heavily.

Signs and symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance

Because electrolytes are involved in so many processes, an electrolyte imbalance can cause a wide array of symptoms, such as:

Initially, your symptoms may be quite mild, but as the imbalance progresses, they can become severe.

Maintaining your electrolyte levels

Electrolytes are found in lots of foods, including:

In fact, many common electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, are listed on food labels.

Many people maintain their electrolyte levels by eating a healthy diet. But sometimes, illnesses or diseases can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb or use electrolytes. The list of issues that can cause electrolyte imbalances is extensive, and includes:

In most cases, electrolyte imbalances can be diagnosed through a simple blood test. Then, our team can perform tests to understand the cause.

Treating electrolyte disorders

There are different methods that we can use to rebalance electrolyte levels. The method our team chooses will depend on the cause of your imbalance and other factors. 

Some common methods include:

During your treatment, your electrolyte levels will be monitored to ensure an optimal balance.

If you’re having symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance — and especially if you also have one of the causes listed above — having a simple blood test could help identify an imbalance before it causes serious problems. To learn more about electrolyte imbalance treatment at Houston Kidney Specialists Center, call 281-429-8780 or book an appointment online.

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