Electrolytes – Their Effect on Your Heart and Body
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: October 21, 2022
We all see the bottles of sports drinks lining the shelves these days. They say “to replenish electrolytes”, but what are electrolytes anyway, and why are they so important?
Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for the proper function of various organs and tissues in the body. They must be kept well balanced to prevent them from negatively affecting their vital functions aka your health.
Although a certain amount of these minerals can be found naturally in the body, human beings rely on their diets and supplements to get most of their electrolytes.
The Causes of Electrolyte Imbalance
Your body’s electrolytes are constantly fluctuating due to activities you perform. When fluids leave your body, either through urination, sweat, or vomit, they are carrying along these minerals with them. Extreme exertion or very hot weather can lead to dehydration, which is a condition that can occur when more fluids are being expelled from the body than usual.
Other conditions such as diabetes, alcoholism, and kidney disease can also cause electrolyte imbalance.
Symptoms of an Electrolyte Imbalance
- dark urine (clear sign of dehydration)
- heart rhythm abnormalities
- seizures and spasms
- nausea with or without vomiting
- constipation or diarrhea
- abdominal cramping
- muscle weakness or pain
- mood changes
Some people with mild electrolyte disorders do not exhibit any symptoms, and they are only detected during routine blood tests. If you notice any of these symptoms, such as loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, confusion, or poor skin elasticity, you should immediately seek medical attention. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
Treating an Imbalance
A short-term solution to an electrolyte imbalance is to take supplements or intravenous fluids. These fluids can help the body quickly absorb and restore its depleted minerals. In addition, certain oral medications can help flush out any excess waste from the blood.
Besides treating your immediate condition, your doctor will also look into your long-term electrolyte imbalance. This usually involves addressing your diet and possibly referring you to a nutritionist.
If you are unable to get the necessary nutrients from your diet and supplements, then additional medications or supplements may be needed. Drinking enough water is also a must to prevent dehydration and minimize the loss of electrolytes.
If you are in the Tampa Bay area and are concerned about a potential electrolyte deficiency or would just like general advice on keeping a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, make an appointment with the on-site nutritionist available to you at Tampa Cardiovascular Associates by calling (813) 975-2800 today. Visit www.tampacardio.com to learn more.
Posted by: Tampa Cardio