Electrolytes are minerals in your blood. They include sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. When they are not at the right levels, you can feel very ill. You may not know what is causing it, but you know something is wrong. You may feel weak or numb, have muscle spasms, or twitch. Your heart may beat fast. Symptoms are different with each mineral. Too much is as bad as too little.
Minerals help keep your body working as it should. Vomiting, diarrhea, and fever can cause you to lose minerals. A problem with your kidneys can tip a mineral out of balance. So can taking certain medicines.
Your doctor may do more tests. He or she may change your medicine and diet. If you are low in one or more minerals, they may be given through a tube into your vein (IV). Your doctor may have you take or drink special fluids or pills. If your kidneys are failing, your blood may be filtered. This is called dialysis. It can put the minerals back in balance.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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