Summer is Here – It’s Important To Know How To Spot an Electrolyte Imbalance
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: June 10, 2019
Summer brings hot temperatures which can dehydrate you in short time if you aren’t drinking enough water and taking in the right nutrients.
You may have heard that electrolytes are important – But what are they?
Electrolytes are minerals found in the body that are essential to proper nerve, muscle, and brain function. These minerals must be balanced. An excess or a deficit can toss your body into a tizzy. A certain sector of electrolytes are found in the body naturally, however, we depend on a supply of our electrolytes to come from what we take in by way of beverages, medications, or supplements.
The most vital electrolytes include:
What can cause an electrolyte imbalance?
The electrolytes are a constant state of fluctuation. When fluids leave your body – through urination, sweat, bowel movements, or throwing up – electrolytes are exiting your body. Exercise, hot weather, or severe illness, can speed that exit up and put you at risk for dehydration. Dehydration goes hand in hand with the imbalance of minerals. Certain other medical conditions can result in electrolyte imbalances as well, such as kidney disease, alcoholism, eating disorders, thyroid disorders, diabetes, an injury that causes trauma, and even congestive heart failure.
What symptoms can you look for?
Symptoms can vary depending on which mineral is out of balance, however, there are a few common symptoms that are generally shared amongst all of them:
fatigue or lethargy
seizures and spasms
a heartbeat that is too fast or too slow
nausea with or without vomiting
constipation or diarrhea
muscle weakness or pain
Mild electrolyte disorders may show no symptoms at all. They are usually only detected accidentally during blood tests for other conditions. If you ever experience more severe symptoms or signs that you dehydrated, such as low blood pressure, poor skin elasticity, confusion, or loss of consciousness, seek emergency medical care immediately as an electrolyte imbalance caused by dehydration or shock can be life-threatening.
What is the treatment for electrolyte imbalance?
Electrolyte imbalances are addressed by either supplements or intravenous fluids to rehydrate the body quickly and restore any missing minerals. IV fluids can also be used, in addition to certain oral medications or hemodialysis, to flush the body of any excess minerals that are present or to flush any excess waste from the blood.
Your doctor will also want to address your issue in the long term, which means looking at your current diet and possibly sending you to a nutritionist. While it’s important to drink enough water in order to prevent dehydration and electrolyte loss, you should be careful not to overdo it either. Excess hydration can lead to nausea, digestive issues, and vomiting. That will only make things worse.
If you are in the Tampa area and are concerned about a potential electrolyte disorder 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. www.tampacardio.com.
Posted by: Tampa Cardio