Q:

Can you explain fluids and electrolytes?

A:

Quick Answer

According to MedlinePlus, electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium that are present in the blood, urine and body fluids. Electrolytes possess an electric charge and are introduced to the body through ingestion of fluids and foods. An imbalance of body fluids due to overhydration or dehydration directly affects the body's electrolyte levels, which can lead to a variety of illnesses and complications.

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Full Answer

WebMD explains that fluids are present in approximately 60 percent of the body. Body fluids are responsible for proper digestion, healthy circulation, salivation and nutrient transportation. Fluid loss occurs naturally during urination and perspiration and must be replenished in order to prevent dehydration and maintain bodily functions. WebMD also explains that dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids and electrolytes than it takes in. Dehydration often occurs with illnesses that cause vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hyponatremia is a condition that is caused by low levels of sodium electrolytes in the body. The condition is common in individuals who take in too much water during high-intensity activities, such as sports. Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, headache, confusion, lethargy, seizures, restlessness, muscle spasms and muscle cramps. Mild cases can be treated by limiting fluid intake, but it is important for individuals experiencing symptoms of hyponatremia to consult with a physician as soon as possible, as severe cases often require immediate medical treatment.

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