Electrolyte Disorders Specialist

Houston Kidney Specialists Center -  - Nephrology

Houston Kidney Specialists Center

Nephrology & Internal Medicine located in Cypress and North Houston Area, TX

It might not be your first thought, but vague symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and headaches could indicate an electrolyte imbalance or disorder. At Houston Kidney Specialists Center with locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, the team treats electrolyte disorders to restore or improve your body functions. Electrolyte disorders often stem from kidney malfunction, which they also treat. To find out if you have an electrolyte disorder and how to manage it effectively, call one of the four Houston Kidney Specialists Center locations or book an appointment online today.

Electrolyte Disorders Q & A

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essential nutrients your body needs for proper functioning. When you dissolve them in water, they create electricity. The small electrical charges that electrolytes produce help drive many of your body’s automatic processes, including nerve function and tissue regeneration.

There are several common electrolytes with which you’re probably already familiar. They include:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Bicarbonate

Achieving a balance among your electrolytes helps you stay hydrated and regulates the acidity of your blood. You can get electrolytes through your diet — fruits and vegetables are rich in them. 

What are electrolyte disorders?

Electrolyte disorders happen when you either have too many or too few electrolytes in your system. If you don’t maintain a balance among your electrolytes, you might notice changes in your body functions. 

Even if you eat a well-balanced diet, certain health conditions and problems can cause an electrolyte related issue. You might develop an electrolyte disorder because of:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Thyroid problems 
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration
  • Overhydration
  • Starvation

If your doctor suspects that you have an electrolyte disorder, they can perform a simple blood test to measure your electrolyte levels. Since electrolyte disorders are often the result of kidney problems, a blood test measuring your kidney function might be necessary for your diagnosis. 

What are the signs and symptoms of an electrolyte disorder?

Electrolyte disorders cause a wide range of signs and symptoms that depend on the specific electrolytes that are out of balance. You might experience:

  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness or cramping
  • Mood swings
  • Numbness or tingling

While your symptoms might seem mild at first, a prolonged electrolyte imbalance can do more damage than you might expect. You should book an appointment at Houston Kidney Specialists Center if you notice unusual symptoms like these. 

How are electrolyte disorders treated?

Treatment for electrolyte disorders aims to restore balance among your electrolytes so your body can function normally. The Houston Kidney Specialists Center team chooses the best treatment for you based on which electrolyte or electrolytes are out of balance. They might suggest:

Intravenous (IV) fluids or medications

IV fluids enter your bloodstream directly via a needle and catheter. The team might add electrolytes to your IV fluid to correct a deficiency or medication to control the imbalance. 

Oral supplements or medications

You can take supplements or certain medications by mouth to make sure you have all the electrolytes you need in appropriate amounts. 

Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is a treatment that performs the same function as your kidneys, removing waste from your blood. Hemodialysis may be your primary option for treatment if your electrolyte disorder comes from kidney malfunction. 

To find out more about electrolyte disorders and their treatment, call Houston Kidney Specialists Center or book an appointment online today.