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Electrolytes

Also known as Electrolytes Ion Selective Electrode Blood
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What is this test?

This test is used to find out the electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride) level in the blood.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are the minerals in the body that are present in the blood, urine, tissues and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important to the body as they balance the amount of water and acid-base pH levels in the body. They also help in moving out the waste from the cells and nutrients into the cells. If the amount of water in the body changes then the electrolytes levels become too high or low and may lead to dehydration or overhydration.

Electrolyte panel includes important electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonates

Sodium:

Sodium is one of the essential minerals needed for the body. It is naturally presented in the food items like canned meat, poultry, fish, ham, sausage, salted nuts, beans etc. It is important for the body to regulate blood volume, to control blood pressure and to maintain osmotic equilibrium and pH levels in the body. Sodium is an important electrolyte and helps in the neuron function. Hypernatremia is a condition in which there is a high level of sodium in the blood than the normal range. Hyponatremia is a condition where a low level of sodium is seen in the blood.

Potassium:

Potassium is essential for cellular biochemical reactions and energy metabolism. It is also needed for the synthesis of proteins from amino acids in the cells. It also participates in the metabolism of carbohydrates, glucose, and glycogen. Potassium is necessary for building muscle and for normal growth.

Chloride:

Chloride is an important mineral and a type of electrolyte which works with other electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Chloride is an electrically charged mineral and helps balance acids and bases in the body. It also moves fluid in and out of the cells. Hence low levels of chloride may lead to dehydration and high levels indicate improper functioning of kidneys.

Bicarbonate:

Bicarbonate (HCO3) is a form of carbon dioxide in the blood. It regulates body pH and maintains acid-base balance. It helps the body to remain hydrated and an excess amount of bicarbonate in the blood may cause an imbalance in the pH of the blood. Kidneys and lungs are the major organs that help in the removal of excess bicarbonate from the blood. Kidneys help to eliminate bicarbonate through urine. The lungs remove excess bicarbonate from the blood by exhaling it out as carbon dioxide.

Why this test is performed?

The Serum Electrolytes Test is done to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal electrolytes levels in the blood of the body. The doctor may ask to perform this test if an individual is suffering from conditions like hypernatremia (high levels of sodium in the blood), hyponatremia (low levels of sodium in the blood), hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood), hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in the blood), liver failure, kidney dysfunction. If symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, edema (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the body), insufficient urine production, fatigue, weakness, lack of energy, dry mouth (insufficient saliva in the mouth), are seen in an individual then the doctor may recommend doing this test.

This test is also done to determine the risk of developing a kidney dysfunction, shortness of breath. If an individual is on the treatment of anti-diuretic medications like hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone etc., then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and sodium levels in the body. This helps the doctor to rule out the patient disease condition. Generally, when a patient is diagnosed with kidney failure, cirrhosis (severe liver damage causes a scar on the liver and liver failure) or malnutrition (lack of sufficient nutrients in the body) visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the Serum Electrolytes Test which gives a better status of the condition. Mostly, this test is done along with other tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Also known as Electrolytes (Na+ K+ Cl-) Test, Serum Electrolytes (Na+ K+ Cl-) Ion Selective Electrode Blood, Sr. Electrolytes Ion Selective Electrode Blood, Electrolytes (Na+ K+ Cl-), Serum Electrolytes (Na+ K+ Cl-), Sr. Electrolytes.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Electrolytes. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Electrolytes.

There are no specific preparations required for the Serum Electrolyte Blood Test.

Understanding your test results

If sodium levels are more than the normal range then it may indicate that there may be conditions likes kidney dysfunction or kidney failure, adrenal glands disorder, diarrhea (frequent discharge of stools in liquid form), hypernatremia, diabetes insipidus (the disorder of salt and water metabolism), dehydration, Cushing syndrome (overproduction of cortisol by adrenal glands), increased salt intake in the diet.

If potassium levels are more than the normal range then it may indicate that there may be conditions likes kidney dysfunction or kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, Addison disease (disorder in which adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough hormones) and high consumption of food items containing potassium, hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium), infection, dehydration, head injury or traumatic injury (sudden physical injury caused by external force).

If chloride levels are higher than the normal range then it may indicate conditions like hyperchloremia (high levels of chloride in the blood), Cushing's syndrome.

Increased bicarbonate levels can also be due to lung diseases, metabolic alkalosis (a condition of increased bicarbonate levels in the blood), Cushing syndrome (a condition due to high levels of cortisol in the body), or Conn syndrome (a condition where there is increased aldosterone levels in the body).

If sodium levels are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for conditions kidney disease, cirrhosis (severe liver damage causes a scar on the liver and liver failure), Addison disease (The disorder in which adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough hormones), malnutrition (lack of sufficient nutrients in the body), edema (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the body) caused by heart failure, vomiting, excessive sweating.

If potassium levels are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for conditions like alcoholism (uncontrolled drinking), Conn syndrome (excess production of hormone aldosterone), not managing the DM, diarrhea, vomiting, complications of acetaminophen overdose, getting IV fluids without enough potassium.

If chloride levels are lower than the normal range then it may indicate a condition called hypochloremia (low level of blood chloride), congestive heart failure, lung diseases causing respiratory acidosis, many episodes of vomiting or prolonged gastric suction, due to losing acid from the body (metabolic alkalosis), Addison's disease (where adrenal glands do not release enough hormones).

If low bicarbonate levels in the blood it may indicate that your body cannot maintain an acid-base balance. It also occurs due to diabetic ketoacidosis (a complication of diabetes where the body overproduces ketones), Addison's disease (an adrenal gland disorder), metabolic acidosis (a condition of decreased bicarbonate levels in the blood), respiratory alkalosis, shock, salicylate poisoning etc. Severe chronic diarrhea may also result in low bicarbonate levels in the blood.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groups136 - 145mEq/L
UNISEXAll age groups3.5 - 5.1 mEq/L
UNISEXAll age groups98 - 107 mEq/L
UNISEXAll age groups23 - 29mEq/L
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